Ukiah surgeon to stand trial on drug charges

A Mendocino County judge on Monday ordered a Ukiah surgeon to stand trial on six felony prescription fraud charges in connection with his apparent addiction to narcotic pain medicine.

Superior Court Judge Anne Moorman delayed making a decision on a seventh felony charge against orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brian Marcel Cable during the preliminary hearing.

Moorman said she will make a decision after further studying case law surrounding the charge of illegally furnishing narcotics. The other six charges pertain to writing illegal prescriptions.

Cable's attorney, Keith Faulder, argued that Cable wasn't furnishing narcotics because he didn't intend for others to use the prescriptions. Cable wrote prescriptions in their names with the intent of obtaining the pain pills for himself, Faulder said.

Cable has admitted to being addicted to the prescription painkiller hydrocodone for a decade, Faulder said Monday in court.

In some cases, Cable both wrote the prescriptions and picked them up at pharmacies, according to testimony by Ukiah Police Detective Noble Waidelich. In other cases, friends and acquaintances would pick up the prescriptions, keeping some of the pills and giving the rest to Cable, Waidelich testified.

"This is about his addiction," Faulder said in court.

Cable in the past used up to 16 hydrocodone pills a day, but had been reducing the amount prior to his arrest, Faulder said.

The addiction came to light last year when police were tipped off by officials at Ukiah Valley Medical Center, where Cable performs surgeries. Cable was arrested on suspicion of possession of controlled prescription narcotics, fraudulently obtaining controlled prescription narcotics, using another person's identity for an unlawful purpose, burglary and conspiracy.

Two of the people whose names he used also have been charged.

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