McAlester doctor pleads guilty to federal charges

·2 min read

Jul. 1—A McAlester doctor agreed to forfeit his medical license as part of a plea deal after he was federally charged with numerous counts of illegally prescribing pain medications to patients.

Court documents filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma states Dr. Nelson Onaro, who owns and operates the Medical Clinic of McAlester at 320 E. Delaware Ave. in McAlester, pleaded guilty to six counts of distribution of controlled substance.

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

Federal prosecutors agreed to dismiss the 24-count indictment against Onaro if he plead guilty to the superseding information filed prior to his Wednesday hearing.

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration, along with local and state law enforcement agencies, conducted a search of Onaro's office on Dec. 23, 2019.

According to the charges filed by information against Onaro, the doctor distributed fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine, oxymorphone, and Adderall "outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate purpose" between January 2018 and May 2019.

"He routinely prescribed controlled substances to patients even though various 'red flags' that suggested he should stop writing those prescriptions, change the prescription, and/or counsel patients accordingly," according to court documents filed in the case.

Court documents also state Onaro wrote a prescription for 60 pills of Adderall to a staff member "with the understanding" that the staff member would fill the prescription and "bring the prescribed pills back to him for his personal use."

According to court documents, the combined converted drug weight for which Onaro is accountable for dispersing is 60.895 kilograms.

In a plea agreement signed by federal prosecutors and Onaro, the anticipated advisory sentencing guidelines range for Onaro will be between 30 to 37 months in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons in addition to any supervised release and fine the sentencing judge may impose.

Onaro also agreed in the plea to surrender his Drug Enforcement Administration Certificate of Registration and to surrender and abandon his license to practice as a medical doctor in Oklahoma and any other states.

He also agreed in the plea deal to refrain from applying for new licenses or seek reinstatement of his licenses to practice as a medical doctor in the United States.

Records from the Oklahoma Board of Osteopathic Examiners show Onaro was first issued an osteopathic license to practice in 1997 with the license expiring in June 2021 with no board actions taken against him.

Onaro previously held osteopathic licenses to practice in Florida and Michigan that both expired. Onaro was also denied a license in Iowa due to the state of Oklahoma's examination not meeting Iowa's equivalence for licensing, according to records available online.

Sentencing for Onaro will be scheduled after a pre-sentence investigation is conducted.

Contact Derrick James at

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting