Onaro law enforcement

DERRICK JAMES | Staff photo

A law enforcement agent loads evidence taken from Dr. Nelson Onaro’s office in McAlester during a Dec. 23, 2019 search. Onaro was indicted in September 2020 by a federal grand jury on 24 counts of unlawful distribution and dispensing of controlled substances.

A trial date has been set for a McAlester doctor accused of illegally prescribing pain medications to patients.

Court documents show a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma scheduled the trial against Dr. Nelson Onaro, 67, who owns and operates the Medical Clinic of McAlester at 320 E. Delaware Ave. in McAlester, for Nov. 4, 2020.

Onaro pleaded not guilty during his Wednesday arraignment to the 24 indictments issued by a federal grand jury on 24 counts of unlawful distribution and dispensing of controlled dangerous substances, according to court documents.

“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.”

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

Onaro was not taken into custody following the indictments and appeared in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Kimberly E. West, who granted a personal recognizance bond for Onaro.

According to court documents, as a condition of the PR bond, Onaro must surrender his passport to the U.S. Probation Office in Muskogee.

Court documents also show that federal prosecutors and Onaro’s defense attorney, Nicholas Goodwin, “do not foresee” any problems which the court should anticipate when it comes to discovery.

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.

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.

Contact Derrick James at djames@mcalesternews.com

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