Octogenarian Hilo doctor indicted on prescription drug trafficking charges

His employees were also part of the alleged drug ring.
Dr. Ernest Bade and four employees were arrested for alleged drug trafficking in a raid by...
Dr. Ernest Bade and four employees were arrested for alleged drug trafficking in a raid by federal agents. The women, Yvonne Caitano, Sheena Strong, Marie Benevides and Theresa Saltus are accused of flying to other islands to fill Dr. Bade's prescriptions for opioids when Hilo pharmacies cut him off.(Hawaii News Now)
Updated: Oct. 25, 2018 at 4:08 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An 80-year-old Hilo doctor whose medical offices were raided last week following a years-long investigation has been indicted on prescription drug trafficking charges.

Federal authorities have been investigating Dr. Ernest Bade and his clinic since 2015, and accuse him of operating a prescription drug trafficking ring. He’s been indicted on 40 counts of distributing a controlled substance without a legitimate medical purpose.

In a news conference on Thursday, U.S. Attorney Kenji Price said the indictment against Bade and four of his employees is an “example of our commitment to holding medical practitioners and their staff accountable for violating the law.”

Last week, Hawaii News Now reported on the raid and Bade’s arrest.

Four of his employees are also facing counts linked to the case: His office manager Yvonne Caitano, and office assistants Sheena Strong, Marie Benevides, and Theresa Saltus were charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess controlled substances.

“This case is indicative of the DEA Honolulu District office’s goals of averting what is devastating the mainland at this time,” said John Callery, assistant special agent-in-charge for the Honolulu DEA field office.

Court records show Bade and his employees went to extraordinary lengths to distribute controlled substances. In one case, authorities allege, Bade prescribed an undercover agent painkillers without even doing an examination.

The documents also show that Saltus, Caitano and Strong would regularly fly from Hilo to Kahului to fill prescriptions signed by Bade for high quantities of opioids, including oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl and hydrocodone.

The women would allegedly visit two pharmacies on Maui because the office was cut off by Hilo pharmacies.

If convicted, Bade, his office manager and one of his assistants could face up to 20 years in prison. The other two assistants face up to four years behind bars.

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