Suspended Physicians Assistant Pleads Guilty in Drug Dealing Scheme


Judge holding gavel in courtroom

SANTA ANA (CNS) - A former licensed physician assistant at a Fountain Valley medical clinic pleaded guilty today to peddling oxycodone to drug dealers, knowing the highly addictive opioid painkiller would be sold on the street.

Raif Wadie Iskander, 54, who used to live in Ladera Ranch but has relocated to Ennis, Montana, entered his plea via videoconference to a federal count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

From 2018 through April 2019, Iskander wrote prescriptions for “patients'' he had never met or examined, including an undercover law enforcement officer, and would leave the name blank to be filled in by drug dealers later, according to his plea deal.

In exchange for cash, Iskander wrote fraudulent oxycodone prescriptions for co-defendants Johnny Gilbert Alvarez, 40, a.k.a. “M.J.,'' of Santa Ana, and Adam Anton Roggero, 37, of Costa Mesa, who sold the prescribed drugs on the street as well as to an undercover officer, according to the plea agreement.

Iskander, who admitted he knew that the oxycodone filled from the prescriptions would be sold to drug customers who were not using the oxycodone for legitimate medical purposes, faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison when sentenced on April 26, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The state Department of Consumer Affairs placed Iskander on five years of probation in July 2019 after he reached a settlement on allegations of gross negligence for prescribing powerful painkillers to patients without determining if they were necessary, according to prosecutors.

Roggero pleaded guilty Oct. 20 to a count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, and Alvarez is scheduled to go on trial March 9.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Costa Mesa Police Department and the California Department of Health Care Services.

Photo: Getty Images


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