Port Townsend doctor's clinic raided by drug agents
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Dr. James Kimber Rotchford, center, is questioned on Tuesday by drug agents during a search of his office on Lawrence Street in Port Townsend. -- Photo by Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND -- Search warrants on the home and office of a Port Townsend doctor who specializes in pain management were executed Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning, officers wearing Drug Enforcement Administration and Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement jackets stretched a crime scene tape perimeter around the office of Olympic Pain and Addiction Services at 1334 Lawrence St., which is owned and operated by Dr. James Kimber Rotchford.

No arrests resulted from the search.

Late Tuesday, Port Townsend Police Sgt. Ed Green said that the doctor's home had been searched, with nothing found.

Crime tape remained at the office.

The Port Townsend Police Department issued a statement that said: "The Port Townsend Police Department, along with other agencies, is assisting the Washington State Attorney General's Office in an investigation and the execution of search warrants."

The statement directed queries to Assistant Attorney General Aileen Miller, who said "the search warrants are under seal at the present time, and the information will remain sealed for 90 days."

Miller would not disclose the nature of the charges but said that her department was concerned with Medicaid fraud.

"We don't know what charges will be filed, as it will depend on what we find," said Miller, adding that she had received three calls about the matter.

Rotchford, who said he had operated the clinic for 10 years, was taken by surprise.

"I am very troubled by this," Rotchford said.

"It is not clear to me what they are looking for."

In 2009, Rotchford was honored with a Jefferson County Heart of Service Award for "unselfish dedication, sacrifice and accomplishments" in community service.

He received the award, which is sponsored by the Peninsula Daily News and the three Rotary Clubs of Jefferson County, for his work as the medical director and one of two physicians who treat patients at the JC MASH free medical clinic in Port Townsend.

Rotchford was a primary motivating force in founding JC MASH in August 1994.

The execution of warrants has closed the clinic and interrupted treatments, Rotchford said.

"This is not justice, and a lot of people are going to suffer," he said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Rotchford met with a small group of patients who had come to the clinic for treatment, instructing them to stay in touch for updates.

"I can go to the pharmacy and turn in a prescription, but they will need to call here for verification . . . and no one is answering the phone," an unidentified patient said.

Green said that his department had been instructed to not provide any information about the warrants.

He said that "several agencies were involved" but declined to identify them.

When contacted for a follow-up, Rotchford said he had been instructed by his attorney to make no further statement.

OPNET is made up of detectives and investigators from both the Clallam and Jefferson County Sheriff's Offices, as well as the Sequim and Port Angeles police departments, the State Patrol and the U.S. Border Patrol.

A message requesting comment with an OPNET spokesperson was not returned Tuesday.

________

Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 21. 2010 11:32PM
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