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Florida ASC director Dr. Johnny Benjamin charged with felony opioid trafficking, robbery: 7 things to know

Indian River County officials charged 51-year-old orthopedic spine surgeon Johnny Benjamin, MD, with felony fentanyl trafficking, robbery and grand theft, according to TC Palm.

Here are seven things to know.

1. Officials received a report from an individual who claimed Dr. Benjamin grabbed the man's cellphone at Vero Beach, Fla.-based Pro Spine Center and proceeded to place the phone in a peanut jar filled with cotton balls, according to TC Palm. Police arrested Dr. Benjamin for the allegations related to the phone.

2. In addition to the two felonies related to the phone, the state's attorney's office also charged Dr. Benjamin with attempting to traffic fentanyl. Assistant State Attorney Ryan Butler did not comment on the fentanyl charge. Regarding the cellphone's relation to the fentanyl charge, Mr. Ryan said, "Don't assume that one stemmed from the other."

3. Sebastian Daily reports Dr. Benjamin said during an interview with police he did not know anything regarding the phone incident.

4. Dr. Benjamin is a past chairman of Indian River Medical and the director of Medical Specialties Surgery Center, both located in Vero Beach.

5. He completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Philadelphia-based Temple University Hospital and his spine fellowship at Clearwater-based Florida Spine Institute.

6. Dr. Benjamin practices out of Pro Spine Center, a 5,000-square-foot ASC. The company owning the building housing Pro Spine Center tried to evict Dr. Benjamin in December 2015. In 2013, Dr. Benjamin faced malpractice changes as well as a wrongful death suit in 2011.

7. Dr. Benjamin's hearing is scheduled for Oct. 20.

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