Three Bartow County residents, including a former NFL football player, have been indicted on charges of working with an Atlanta-area doctor to illegally obtain and sell prescription drugs including opioids.
Sedrick Hodge, 40, of Cartersville, was indicted with Farrah Hodge, 42, of Cartersville; Marcus McConnell, 35, of Adairsville; and Dr. Victor A. Hanson, 86, of Brookhaven, on charges connected to the alleged illegal sales of the drugs in such places as Cartersville.
U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak said Hanson “allegedly issued numerous illegitimate prescriptions for drugs, including powerful opioid painkillers.”
“While Hanson prescribed these drugs without a legitimate medical purpose, Sedrick Hodge and other associates allegedly sold these drugs in communities like Cartersville,” Pak said.
Robert J. Murphy, the special agent in charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division, said, “Americans rely on healthcare providers, many of them medical doctors, to use their training to help patients and to ‘do no harm.’
“Dr. Hanson violated the law and betrayed the responsibilities of his profession by prescribing controlled substances, to include opioids, outside the usual course of professional practice.
“In addition, former professional football player Sedrick Hodge sold illegitimate oxycodone pills from Dr. Hanson on the streets for cash,” Murphy said. “DEA, its law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney’s Office are committed to stopping unscrupulous medical professionals like Dr. Hanson from harming patients.”
According to information from Pak, the indictment and in court, Hanson is a licensed physician who operated a weight loss clinic in Sandy Springs.
However, he also allegedly prescribed large quantities of controlled substances, including opioids like oxycodone, and stimulants. Hanson accepted only cash or checks as payment, a news release stated.
The indictment alleges that Hanson prescribed the controlled substances irrespective of any legitimate medical purpose, outside the usual course of professional practice, and in inappropriate amounts and dosage combinations.
He prescribed these drugs to individuals without conducting thorough medical examinations or — at times — any examinations at all, the release stated.
Co-defendants Sedrick Hodge, Farrah Hodge and McConnell allegedly obtained prescriptions for controlled substances from Hanson.
Hanson also allegedly gave Sedrick Hodge prescriptions written to third parties, including McConnell, when those third parties were not present.
In turn, Sedrick Hodge allegedly sold oxycodone pills on the street for cash, the news release stated. On two separate occasions in October and November 2018, Sedrick Hodge sold oxycodone pills to a confidential source working with the DEA in Cartersville, the release stated.
The four were indicted on Sept. 3 and charged with conspiring to distribute and dispense controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.
In addition, Sedrick Hodge also was charged with six individual counts of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, one count of distribution of controlled substances, and a money laundering conspiracy.
Farrah Hodge also was charged with a money laundering conspiracy.
McConnell also was charged with three individual counts of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.
Hanson also was charged with maintaining a premises for the purpose of distributing controlled substances, 14 individual counts of illegal drug distribution for specific prescriptions, including several written to undercover federal officers, and a money laundering conspiracy.
Sedrick Hodge earned all-state honors as a high school player for Westminster School in Atlanta before becoming a standout linebacker for the University of North Carolina in the late 1990s.
He later played in 63 games as a defensive player for the New Orleans Saints from 2001 to 2005, according to nfl.com.
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration is investigating the case with assistance from the Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force, the Jonesboro Police Department and the Sandy Springs Police Department.
The case is part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Operation SCOPE (Strategically Combatting Opioids through Prosecution and Enforcement), an initiative that targets individuals who illegally prescribe opioids and drug traffickers who also distribute these dangerous and addictive drugs.
The release did not state if the Hodges were related.