Doctor on trial for drug trafficking

6:51 PM, Sep 14, 2010   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida --  John Mubang succeeded in his American dream.  His attorney, Arthur Eggers, describes him as a man who was born in Cameroon, Africa who dreamed of moving to the United States to get his college degree.

He did and then made his next move to become a medical doctor.  Eggers says Mubang went on to the Philippines to obtain his medical degree before returning to the United States.

Mubang moved up in the ranks, becoming the medical director of the Hillsborough County Jail, a role he served in for years until the contract his company had with the county expired.

He had to find a way to earn money, so Eggers says Mubang then decided to purchase a medical clinic from another doctor in Seffner.

In 2008, Mubang went from a trusted partner of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to the center of a nearly six month long prescription drug investigation.

In July of 2008, Mubang was arrested on charges of trafficking controlled substances and writing prescriptions without neccessity.

He's on trial this week to face those charges.

In opening statements, prosecutor Gregory Pizzo told the jury, "You won't hear members of the jury that the defendant requested medical history.  You won't hear anything about doing a thorough physical exam."

"You'll hear they tried to tell the defendant, 'Hey, I'm trading pills, that we want to switch pills,'" he went on to say.

Rubbing his fingers together, suggesting money, Pizzo also said, "The defendant asked very few questions.  Asked what they wanted and gave them a prescription."

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office tells 10 News they started to look into Dr. Mubang after receiving several complaints from the public about his office.  The sheriff's office says people were concerned that it did not seem like a legitimate doctor's office due to the lack of equipment for examination.

The nearly six month long investigation was a first of its kind for the sheriff's office, who had never before focused on a doctor believed to be illegally prescribing prescription pain killers.

This would also mean it's the first time undercover detectives would formulate a character and a story to get painkillers from a doctor.

Defense attorney Arthur Eggers was quick to point this out in his opening statements.

"He prescribed reasonable dosages of pills to them for their pain.  He doesn't know they're total frauds," said Pizzo of the undercover detectives. "He believed he was dealing with real people, with real problems."

Eggers says while his client may not be a good businessman, he is not a criminal.

Eggers told the jury they will hear from Dr. John Mubang as he takes the stand in his own defense.

That is expected to happen on Wednesday.

Laura Kadechka, 10 News

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