THE ATLANTIC: His run as a pusher, as detailed by the prosecution, ended spectacularly. Gosnell was scribbling out as many as 200 narcotic prescriptions a night. It’s an irony of America’s continued war against drugs that while Gosnell apparently could have been busted for murder years before had various medical oversight agencies been more vigilant, he only got arrested when he messed with the DEA. The grand jury report in the murder trial, with its horrific descriptions of babies’ feet preserved in jars in a back room, has gotten more press. But the indictment handed down in his drug case lays out all the gory details about his less-publicized alleged dope operation, which, unlike his illegal abortion business, was quickly and efficiently shut down.
Take the case of T.J., as he’s named in the indictment. The government says that in October of 2009 he called Gosnell’s office girl Latosha Lewis on her cell phone to place pickup orders for narcotics. Lewis gathered the charts associated with the different names he provided, drawing up orders for the prescriptions and then passing them along to Gosnell, who allegedly signed them without ever laying an eye on the patient. T.J. later picked up his stack of prescriptions for what would be considered on the streets a very fat sack of dope: 180 80 milligram OxyContin pills, 200 Percocet, 180 1mg Xanax, and 20oz of codeine syrup. For this narc haul with a street value of roughly $10,000, T.J. is said to have paid $20 to Gosnell’s practice for each name associated with the various prescriptions, given $100 directly to Gosnell, and slid a cash tip to Latoya Lewis for the hookup. Gosnell reportedly paid Lewis less than $10 per hour, so you can imagine the appeal of fast extra money.
This went on and on, with T.J. purportedly returning to Gosnell time and again, paying cash for prescriptions ultimately amounting to a mountain of pharmaceutical narcotics that were likely later distributed to “case workers” — the midlevel operators who supply Philly’s drug corners — and ultimately on the street and into the hands of addicts. It turns out that the whole time T.J. had been under the eye of DEA, the Philladelphia police department, and the state’s Serious Drug Offender Unit, who had their sites set on Gosnell. All figured him for just another pill mill doctor. On February 18, 2010, when the raid went down, law enforcement discovered what they described as heavily doped, barely conscious women queued up for abortions in a cat-feces and blood-spattered space that was “filthy, deplorable, and disgusting.” Then agents said they found the jars filled with dead baby feet. MORE