PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Several Kentucky doctors are caught up in a massive opioid sting operation.
60 people are linked to the investigation.
Five of the people charged were from Eastern Kentucky, among them are three doctors, a dentist and an office assistant.
Sai Gutti, M.D. is among those five charged. He is charged with eight counts of health care fraud.
We started keeping an eye on Dr. Gutti a little more than three weeks ago when federal agents raided his offices on March 25th. At the time we did not know why.
People in Pike County said the investigation is not exactly a shock to them.
"I wasn't surprised, I mean it's known in this area for the pills and everything like that," said Robert Taylor.
Gutti operates a five-clinic family practice in and around Pikeville.
"It's not the people in the area, it's the doctors doing it. They're the ones prescribing everybody narcotics that don't need narcotics," explained Taylor.
Prosecutors claim he billed Medicare for urine testing that never happened or was not medically necessary.
Taylor says officials need to be strict on opioid distribution.
However, he believes that may affect those who truly need it.
"It makes everyone else look bad when we actually have something wrong with us and need to go to the doctors so they can get narcotics such as pain pills or something like that," Taylor pointed out.
Marvin Hensley went to Dr. Gutti's office, sometimes driving from his home in Harlan County.
"But I think the government is going overboard with it. I think they're punishing the wrong people," said Hensley.
Hensley says he is shocked by Dr. Gutti being charged.
"My personal opinion and experience with Dr. Gutti has been 100% professional," recalled Hensley.
This leaves many in Eastern Kentucky worried about their important medications.
"Without my pain medications, it makes life hard to live. I mean, people don't understand. It's torture," explained Hensley.
Hensley says he has undergone 29 surgeries and may have to go another two weeks without his medication.
At last check, Gutti is the only one of the five Eastern Kentucky medical professionals who is not currently in jail.
From federal court documents, he is scheduled for a hearing on the 25th in Frankfort federal court.