Alvin Mingczech Yee, 43, of Mission Viejo, was arrested Tuesday night at his Irvine office by Drug Enforcement Administration agents and Orange and Huntington Beach Police Department officers, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Meanwhile, authorities are looking into the death of a woman in Huntington Beach who got prescriptions from Yee and is thought to have died from an opiate overdose, according to a search warrant affidavit. The document says the Orange County deputy coroner told Huntington Beach investigators he recognized the doctor's name associated with several other overdose deaths he was investigating.
Huntington Beach police Lt. Russell Reinhart said he could not say more because of ongoing investigations.
A 56-count grand jury indictment charges Yee with prescribing drugs, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, "outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose," the release said.
Court documents allege Yee met with numerous "patients," including three undercover operatives, during evening rendezvous at Starbucks across the county and wrote prescriptions for drugs best known by brand names, including OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, Adderall and Suboxone.
Authorities searched Yee's home, Irvine office and his car. According to an affidavit in support of the search warrants executed Tuesday, Yee met with up to a dozen people nightly, writing prescriptions for cash.
A DEA investigation found that large quantities of controlled substances were seized and many people arrested in Seattle, Phoenix, and Detroit. Independent investigations into the arrests determined those arrested traveled to Orange County and obtained the opiates from Yee, according to the affidavit.
At least one young adult, identified as Krista Davis, who got large amounts of opiates from the doctor overdosed and died in Huntington Beach in August, the affidavit says.
If convicted, for each of the 50 counts Yee faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Each count of distribution of a controlled substance by a medical practitioner to a minor carries a mandatory minimum penalty of one year and a maximum penalty of 40 years.