Defendants Granted Bond In Federal Prescription Drug Case

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - All four defendants in a federal prescription drug case will be released on bond.

Tuesday's decision by Judge Louis Guirola reverses an earlier ruling that ordered the defendants held until trial.

The latest bond hearing in federal court also revealed that one of the four could face more serious legal trouble.

Dr. Thomas Trieu and his wife Dr. Victoria Van have been behind bars since their Family Medical Center was raided in late May by federal drug agents. They were taken into custody, along with officer manager Richard Trieu and pharmacist Nick Tran.

The government agreed to the release of three defendants, but prosecutors argued to keep Dr. Trieu behind bars. The government attorney also told the court Dr. Trieu could be facing far more serious troubles.

The four defendants have been behind bars since the May 22nd raid at the medical center and pharmacy on Division Street. Their alleged crimes in a 22 count indictment involve the distribution of prescription narcotics to dozens of patients who didn't need the drugs.

Dr. Victoria Van, office manager Richard Trieu and pharmacist Nick Tran were granted $100,000 unsecured bonds by Judge Louis Guirola, who reversed an earlier ruling by magistrate Judge John Roper.

Michael Crosby is confident his client, Dr. Van, will be found innocent.

"Oh, yes I am. I'm very confident. We look forward to that day. I'm just thankful she's not having to sit in jail. Her children started school yesterday, and I can't wait to see her get out today," said attorney Crosby.

"We think the developments will continue to be positive for our client. The government is finally, in my opinion, our opinion, making a good faith effort to try to resolve the case," said attorney David Morrison, who represents pharmacist Nick Tran.

Dr. Thomas Trieu received the toughest bond requirements. He was given a $100,000 secured bond and will be held under "home incarceration" with electronic monitoring until his trial.

James Farrier is one of Dr. Trieu's attorneys.

"We are able to flesh out more details about this ties to the community. That assured the court that Dr. Trieu was not going to leave the country," said Farrier following the afternoon hearing.

According to the federal prosecutor, the current charges against Dr. Thomas Trieu may be just the beginning of his legal troubles. Attorney John Meynardie says the government is seeking a superceding indictment that will likely include in excess of 100 additional drug related charges.

Plus, the prosecutor said he's talked with the district attorneys in Harrison and Jackson counties. They are investigating possible state charges against Dr. Trieu for the nine overdose deaths that have been linked to this case.

Attorney Farrier was asked about whether his client will be found not guilty at trial.

"We feel fairly confident he's going to be exonerated," the attorney replied.

Government attorney John Meynardie says he's taking the case before a federal grand jury early next month to seek that superceding indictment.

The prosecutor also said there are separate investigations underway to determine if Dr. Trieu could face charges for insurance fraud and money laundering.