A North Carolina doctor was arrested in South Carolina Thursday on 15 counts of drug trafficking with opioids after writing phony prescriptions for Oxycodone at three Rock Hill pharmacies, officials said.
Byron Christopher Leak, 41, of Huntersville, N.C., is charged with 15 counts of trafficking morphine, in amounts between 14 and 28 grams, and one count of possession of narcotics, according to police and jail records.
Leak was arrested in York County after a months-long investigation by S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control officials, arrest warrants show.
Leak, a medical doctor, admitted to South Carolina agents that he sold the prescriptions for money, according to arrest warrants released to The Herald by DHEC.
On 15 occasions in February and March, Leak and another unnamed man conspired to illegally purchase more than 150 grams of Oxycodone from the CVS pharmacies on Cherry Road, Heckle Boulevard and Celanese Road, arrest warrants state.
The arrest is not the first for Leak on drug charges, records show.
Leak was out on bond after an arrest in Mecklenburg County on six drug charges in May, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Sheriff’s office jail records show.
Leak voluntarily surrendered his North Carolina license to practice medicine on May 28, according to a filing with the North Carolina Medical Board.
Leak remains at the York County jail under a $20,000 bond.
Leak could face life in prison if he is convicted of all charges. Felony opioid trafficking of 14 to 28 grams carries a 25-year sentence for each conviction, state law shows.
The arrest comes as police agencies in York and Lancaster counties have struggled to keep up with opioid overdoes and drug crimes connected with opiates.
Just this week, Tega Cay police announced plans to distribute packages to dispose of opioids.
York County has had eight opioid overdose deaths in 2018, York County Coroner Sabrina Gast said this week.
The opioid problem in South Carolina is so vast that Lancaster County filed a lawsuit against drug companies in March. Lancaster County said it had a 400 percent increase in opioid overdose deaths in 2017, officials told The Herald when the lawsuit was filed.
Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald