By Frank Miles
Published September 11, 2019
Former New Orleans Saint Sedrick Hodge allegedly sold oxycodone pills in Cartersville, Ga., northwest of Atlanta, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. Hodge, 40, faces six counts of possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute, one count of distribution of controlled substances, and a money-laundering conspiracy. His wife, Farrah, 42, was also charged with a money-laundering conspiracy.
Dr. Victor Hanson faces 14 counts of illegal drug distribution involving prescriptions that included powerful opioid painkillers, a money laundering conspiracy and maintaining premises for the purpose of distributing controlled substances, prosecutors said.
A fourth defendant, 35-year-old Marcus McConnell of Adairsville, was charged with three counts of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.
Hanson, who lives in the Atlanta suburb of Brookhaven and operated a weight loss clinic in nearby Sandy Springs, issued “numerous illegitimate prescriptions for drugs, including powerful opioid painkillers,” U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak said in a statement. “While Hanson prescribed these drugs without a legitimate medical purpose, Sedrick Hodge and other associates allegedly sold these drugs in communities like Cartersville."
Hanson accepted cash or checks for the drugs, and Hodge then sold them on the street for cash, prosecutors wrote in the indictment. The drugs included oxycodone, hydrocodone, alprazolam and others, prosecutors said.
"The indictment alleges that Hanson prescribed these controlled substances irrespective of any legitimate medical purpose, outside the usual course of professional practice, and in inappropriate amounts and dosage combinations," the U.S. Attorney's office said in a statement. "He prescribed these drugs to individuals without conducting thorough medical examinations or—at times—any examinations at all."
Lawyers for Hodge didn’t immediately respond Wednesday to calls and emails requesting comment.
Hodge, a linebacker who played at the University of North Carolina, was drafted by the Saints in 2001. He spent all five of his NFL seasons in New Orleans, appearing in 63 games and starting 43. He signed with Miami as a free agent in 2006 but was cut before the regular season began.
Opioid overdoses claimed the lives of about 400,000 Americans from 1999-2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This case is part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Operation SCOPE, an acronym for Strategically Combating Opioids through Prosecution and Enforcement, according to prosecutors. It is aimed at fighting the nation’s opioid crisis by cracking down on physicians and dealers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.