ROCKINGHAM — A Richmond County doctor is facing felony drug charges following a joint investigation by police and the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation.
Wendell D’Alton Wells, 70, of Seven Lakes in Moore County, turned himself in at the Rockingham Police Department around 11 a.m. May 26.
He is charged with one count of sale or delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance, one count of sale or delivery of a Schedule IV controlled substance, two counts of prescribing a controlled substance without a legitimate medical purpose and one count of failure to keep medical records.
Those charges, all felonies, will be prosecuted by the Richmond County District Attorney’s office, according to a statement from the SBI.
Agents say Wells’ arrest stems from a three-month investigation between local and state law enforcement “after information was received about the doctor’s dispensing practices.”
The doctor was alleged to have authorized prescriptions for controlled substances — including alprazolam (generic for Xanax) and hydrocodone — without a legitimate medical purpose and “without meaningful patient examinations,” according to the SBI.
An undercover investigation confirmed those allegations, agents say.
Records with the N.C. Medical Board show Wells was issued his medical license on Aug. 14, 1982, and that he voluntarily surrendered it on May 25.
Wells gradated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1979 — the same year he was certified in family practice — and specialized in surgery at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Georgia for post-graduate training, records show.
According to his license information, he was a medical doctor at First Choice Medical Group PC on Broad Avenue in Rockingham.
Agents say search warrants for medical records were executed at that practice and at Company Health/Moore Care in Hoffman, where he also saw patients.
In addition to his medical license, Wells also surrendered his DEA registration, which allowed him to write prescriptions, agents say.
“This arrest is the culmination of hard work from North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation as well as the Rockingham Police Department and a significant step in curbing unnecessary prescription medication finding its way to the streets of Rockingham,” Chief Billy Kelly said in a statement.
Wells is also facing three individual misdemeanor counts of sexual battery for alleged improper touching of a patient.
He was fingerprinted at the Rockingham Police Department and taken to the Richmond County Magistrate’s office, where he was released on a $25,000 unsecured bond. His court date is scheduled for June 9.
All defendants facing criminal charges are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
Reach editor William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_Toler.