Author: Jason Johnson

‘Pill mill’ doc gets 20 years in prison, fined millions in restitution

After hearing emotional testimony families of Dr. John Patrick Couch’s deceased patients, U.S. District Court Judge Ginny Granade sentenced the former pain doctor to 20 years in federal prison for his role in one of the most significant “pill mill” operations seen in years. For Couch, the ruling was the end of a two-year saga that began when his former practice, Physicians Pain Specialist of Alabama (PPSA), was raided by federal agents in 2015. His former business partner and codefendant Dr. Xiulu Ruan will be sentenced tomorrow. Though thousands of prescriptions for myriad drugs were discussed in the doctors’...

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Targeting drug activity, police arrest 13

After overseeing his first large-scale drug raid since taking the reigns at the Mobile Police Department, Chief Lawrence Battiste emphasized the “community” approach to policing expanded under his predecessor, Public Safety Director James Barber. “We try to do the background work to make sure when we come into a community, we target individuals who are causing the crime,” Battiste said. “Our biggest goal in the last couple of years has been making sure we don’t disenfranchise a community through tactics that make people feel they’re being targets of the police because of their economic status.” Battiste made those comments...

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Physicians push VA to treat ‘invisible wounds’

After 22 years in the United States Army, Mike Jackson had become used to living with a number of physical and mental ailments. He hadn’t felt one of his feet for more than a decade, tinnitus was causing a constant ringing sensation in one ear and, like many veterans, he was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), memory loss and depression. “My wife said that she had to tell me something two or three times before it would get into my head and I could remember it. It’s totally different. I can remember things from back when I...

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County joins call for extending snapper season

During a conference meeting today, the Mobile County Commission adopted a resolution in support of extending the federal season for recreational red snapper fishing, which at just three days this year, will be the shortest season in recorded history. In federal waters, which begin nine miles from the coastline, the length of red snapper season is set annually by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council based on assessments of the population. In early May, the council announced the 2017 recreational season would run for just three days starting June 1...

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Suspect apprehended in BB gun assaults

A day after early morning joggers and bikers were indiscriminately targeted by an unidentified man wielding a BB gun, police in Mobile apprehended the suspect — a 21-year-old man from Citronelle with a history of criminal mischief. According to reports received by the Mobile Police Department, a man in the area of McGregor Avenue and Hillwood Road was shot once in the face by a BB gun. The assault, which occurred around 5:50 a.m. Tuesday morning, damaged one of the victim’s teeth, though he was able to describe his assailant’s vehicle — a black or gray pickup truck. Shortly...

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