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Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Wednesday, December 6, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Stiff Bail for Alleged|Drugs-for-Sex Doctor

SAN DIEGO (CN) — A federal judge Wednesday set a $100,000 bond for a San Diego area doctor accused of trading narcotics for sex with patients, and barred him from writing narcotics prescriptions for women unless his medical partner approves.

Dr. Naga Raja Thota, 62, was arrested Wednesday morning by at his office in El Cajon, east of San Diego.

The seven-count indictment accuses him of distributing controlled substances without legitimate medical purpose — oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone and alprazolam aka Xanax.

The attached affidavit from a DEA agent includes transcripts of explicit text messages and lists of the drugs Thota prescribed: 4,910 to one woman in a single year, in her name and the names of her father and brother, who were not his patients are not accused of wrongdoing.

The DEA agent says Thota bought victim J.S., then 25, a cellphone and paid the bills. After a series of lurid messages, including one in which J.S. asks: "babe do u swear u haven't been with anyone else? Cuz we just did it without a condom", Thota apparently cut off her cellphone service. This prompted her to send him a text message in which she threatened to show their text messages to "everyone."

"I will show them how you pursued me and how you bribed me with drugs and how you let me get all these drugs under different people's names. I will also share how much you pay me to fuck me. I swear all of this on My mother's grave raja," an excerpt from one message states.

If convicted, Thota faces up to 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine and lifetime supervised release.

Thota prescribed another woman, 20-year-old M.R., 3,755 narcotic pills in just over 13 months, according to the affidavit. She told the DEA agent she never had intercourse with Thota but gave him "hand jobs" and let him give her oral sex in exchange for the drugs, whose dosages he constantly increased.

The DEA agent relates stories from two other women who got drugs from Thota in circumstances that can fairly be described as irregular.

L.E. said J.S. told her to go to Thota for drugs, and he prescribed her 420 tablets of oxycodone in two prescriptions, 15 days apart. L.E. described Thota as "very weird" and "paranoid" and said she canceled a follow-up exam.

D.H. told the DEA agent that Thota offered her $100 for sex and that one day she went to his office for a "procedure ... and the next thing she recalled was waking up in Thota's surgical center at 4:00 a.m. with an IV in her arm. D.H. stated she had no idea what was going on."

The DEA raided Thota's offices with warrants and downloaded text messages from J.S.'s cell phone. The affidavit reports thousands of telephone contacts between Thota and his alleged victims.

At a Wednesday hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Bernard Skomal set bail at $100,000 secured by real property, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Skomal also ordered that Thota's partner in his medical practice must approve all prescriptions for Schedule 2 drugs that Thota writes for female patients, and ordered Thota not to contact any of the people mentioned in the complaint.

The next hearing is set for Sept. 13.

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