Federal trial against local doctor continued again

·2 min read

May 19—A jury trial against a local doctor accused of illegally prescribing pain medications to patients has been once again continued as federal prosecutors produced new evidence and seek potential additional charges.

Court documents filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma states the trial against Dr. Nelson Onaro, who owns and operates the Medical Clinic of McAlester at 320 E. Delaware Ave. in McAlester, was continued due to federal prosecutors obtaining new evidence against the doctor.

Onaro pleaded not guilty in September 2020 to 24 indictments issued by a federal grand jury on 24 counts of unlawful distribution and dispensing of controlled dangerous substances.

According to an unopposed/joint motion to continue "the government recently obtained, and disclosed to the defendant, additional evidence regarding alleged unlawful prescribing by the defendant" and "the government has confirmed that it will seek a superseding indictment in May 2021 as it relates to this material and other material obtained during investigation."

The motion, prepared by Tulsa-based attorney Zachary Enlow, states counsel for both parties are engaged in "significant discussion regarding potential resolution" to the matter "both in light of the newly-obtained evidence and the potential superseding indictment."

U.S. District Judge Ronald White granted the motion and scheduled the new trial date to Sept. 8, 2021.

"The court finds that due to the recently discovered evidence and anticipated superseding indictment, counsel's legitimate need to prepare for trial, the ends of justice require that defense council be provided with more time to prepare for a trial or explore other avenues of resolution of the matter," White wrote in his order.

According to the indictment filed in 2020, the 24 alleged instances occurred between Jan. 2, 2018 and Dec. 12, 2019.

"As part of his practice, Nelson Onaro prescribed controlled substances, including highly addictive opioids," the indictment states. "Nelson Onaro routinely prescribed various Schedule II controlled substances, including fentanyl, oxycodone, oxymorphone, and morphine for his patients outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose."

The indictment alleges Onaro illegally prescribed and dispensed fentanyl 12 times, morphine one time, hydrocodone one time, oxycontin once, oxycodone seven times, and oxymorphone twice to six different patients over a two-year time frame ending in December 2019.

Onaro was granted release on a personal recognizance bond with a condition of Onaro surrendering his U.S. Passport to the U.S. Probation Office in Muskogee.

Contact Derrick James at djames@mcalesternews.com