Life sentence upheld for former spine surgeon in counterfeit opioid overdose case


A federal appeals court on May 8 dismissed arguments from a former spine surgeon sentenced to life in prison for the death of a woman who overdosed on counterfeit oxycodone pills, CBS12 reports.

In 2018, Johnny Clyde Benjamin Jr., MD, was convicted of several charges related to the production and distribution of counterfeit opioids.

He was arrested after a woman in Wellington, Fla., died of an overdose at her home.

Federal drug agents found a money counter and a scale containing residue of the synthetic opioid furanyl fentanyl at Dr. Benjamin's property.

Prosecutors provided "more than enough evidence" for the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that the woman's death was caused by the furanyl fentanyl distributed by Dr. Benjamin, the appeals court ruled.

Dr. Benjamin previously practiced at Pro Spine Center in Vero Beach, Fla.

His license was revoked by the Florida Board of Medicine in 2018.

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