North Alabama doctors busted in federal opioid takedown plead not guilty

Updated: Apr. 29, 2019 at 6:06 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - It was a shocking indictment involving a former practicing south Huntsville doctor- allegations of drugs, prostitutes, and overdoses.

On Monday, Marshall Plotka appeared in federal court. He's one of several Alabama doctors busted in a federal opioid sweep.

He walked into the federal courthouse in Huntsville wearing a jail jumpsuit in shackles and pleaded not guilty to maintaining a drug-involved premises at arraignment.

He allegedly hired women as prostitutes and let them use drugs inside his Hampton Cove home. He also recruited them as patients at his clinic, Phoenix Emergency Care in Jones Valley, according to court documents.

Plotka voluntarily surrendered his medical license and controlled substance license this month.

His clinic remains closed with white paper taped to the front glass windows and doors to block anyone from seeing inside. There’s also lists of other doctors for patients to call.

Meanwhile, another Tennessee Valley doctor appeared in court on Monday in Birmingham for an arraignment.

Dr. Celia Lloyd Turney, who operated Choice Medicine in Toney, is looking at nine counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance charges.

According to court documents, she was prescribing people as many as 15 opioid pills per day.

“The doctor has been arraigned. She will continue to pursue her case and vigorously defend herself,” said her attorney, Erica Williamson Barnes, outside of the courthouse.

As for Marshall Plotka, the complaint alleges his house was a place where people could buy, sell, store and use illicit drugs, leading to several overdoses.

Plotka will remain in custody for the time being because the judge says he's considered a danger to the community.

As for the other local doctors and individuals included in the federal bust:

Dr. Elizabeth Korcz, Matthew Korcz and Austin Haskew were accused of running a pill mill out of a medical office in Hoover. All three have pleaded not guilty and bonded out.

Huntsville’s Dr. John Cimino and Katherine Fugate Barnett are facing healthcare fraud charges. Arraignment for Dr. Cimino is set for May 9th in Birmingham. Barnett has been indicted, but no court date has been set.

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