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 March 8th, 2006  
Jury convicts suspended Port St. Lucie doctor in "pill mill" case
A St. Lucie County jury March 6 found suspended Port St. Lucie physician Asuncion Luyao guilty of seven felony crimes including one count of manslaughter.

The jury convicted Luyao for her role in dispensing powerful painkilling drugs before her 2002 arrest by St. Lucie County Sheriff’s investigators and other law agencies. Sheriff Ken J. Mascara described her medical practice at the time as a "pill mill".

Dr. Luyao saw as many as 10 patients an hour, accepted only cash payment for the appointments and accepted no insurance, according to testimony at the trial.

In addition to the manslaughter conviction, the jury convicted Luyao of one count of racketeering and five counts of trafficking in oxycodone.

Testimony demonstrated that she dispensed large amounts of painkilling drugs with little examination of her patients, one of whom was an undercover officer.

Prosecutors succeeded in introducing evidence, barred at an early trial that resulted in a hung jury. That evidence proved that Luyao took more than 280 trips on a Palm Beach-based gambling ship from 1999 to 2001. The evidence provided a possible motive for hurrying patients through her examination room during that time.

Luyao was jailed following the verdict until sentencing in late April.

The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office originated the case. The Sheriff's Office has been a leader among Treasure Coast law agencies in the investigation of the illegal diversion of prescription drugs to criminal activities.

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