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Sunday, June 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Santa Barbara Doctor Faces Hard Time

SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) - A Santa Barbara doctor was jailed Thursday and faces up to 200 years in prison after pleading guilty to 11 of 88 drug-distribution charges, including one count of distributing drugs to a minor.

Julio Gabriel Diaz, 65, operated the Family Medical Clinic in Santa Barbara until he was arrested 2 years ago. He pleaded guilty Thursday to 10 federal counts of distributing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose and one count of distributing controlled substances to a minor. In federal law, a minor is a person younger than 21.

Diaz faces up to 200 years in prison and $10 million in fines at his June 2 sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr., in a statement, called Diaz "a common drug dealer."

"Court documents previously filed in this case, as well as civil lawsuits, link Diaz to fatal drug overdoses," Birotte's office said in the statement Thursday. "However, he was not specifically charged with causing any deaths, nor did he specifically admit causing any deaths during today's hearing."

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