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Va. doctor pleads guilty to large-scale opioid distribution

Shriharsh Laxman Pole (U.S. District Attorney's Office)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A northern Virginia physician has pleaded guilty to using his pain clinic to illegally distribute more than 600,000 oxycodone pills.

Sixty-five-year-old Shriharsh Laxman Pole operated the Excel Medical Clinic in Woodbridge, even though his license had been suspended by the Virginia Board of Medicine for improper prescription of opiates.

Prosecutors at federal court in Alexandria say Pole worked with a nurse practitioner, 63-year-old Janelle Hibson of Fredericksburg, and another physician to issue prescriptions for oxycodone and other opiates despite signs of drug-seeking behavior from patients.

Hibson has already pleaded guilty in a separate case.

Pole struck a plea deal Wednesday in which he admitted to a conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and other charges were dropped.

He faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in March.

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