Dr. Alvin Ming-Czech Yee, who lived in a Mission Viejo residence but used Starbucks locations as his office, will plead guilty April 17 to charges brought by federal authorities who first accused him in October 2011 of using the coffee lounge as "a front for drug dealing."
A 21-year-old patient from Huntington Beach prescribed drugs by Yee, 44, died from an overdose that same year.
My former colleague Marisa Gerber first covered the case for the Weekly:
Feds said at the time Yee met with more than 10 "patients" a night--usually at a Starbucks--and wrote them prescriptions for drugs in exchange for $600. A third of these people were 25 or younger, six cases involved people younger than 21 and among the meds prescribed were OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, Adderall and Suboxone, the Department of Justice announced at the time.
Some "patients" came to Orange County from as far away as Seattle and Detroit and were later arrested for possessing large amoungs of opiates. The Surf City woman who died had also been reportedly prescribed opiates.
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One patient turned out to be a Drug Enforcement Agency undercover, who was told by Yee, "Bet you never had your blood pressure taken in a Starbucks before," according to court documents. The physician was arrested in his Irvine office after that. His state medical license has since lapsed.
Under a plea deal, Yee will plead guilty to seven counts of illegal drug distribution. The agreement recommends he receive a 10-year prison sentence, but the federal judge is not bound by the deal's terms.