Tempe health clinic raided; doctor accused of running a 'pill mill'

TEMPE, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- A family-run medical clinic was raided by Drug Enforcement Administration agents and the owners were led away from the business in handcuffs.

They're accused of running a "pill mill" -- a business that profited from over-prescribing opioids to patients.

A Tempe doctor and her mother now behind bars and their practice, the Ava Pain Management Clinic, has been shut down.

Patients say the clinic was a popular choice for pain pill addicts. They could easily get a doctor's prescription for opiates.

According to workers, the practitioners allegedly wrote around 60 prescriptions daily for opioids.

One patient did not want to be identified, telling us the owners even profited from long lines.

"There were a lot of customers.. used to come here.. sometimes I would go in there and there'd be 30 to 40 people in there," he said. "They got something called a fast pass, so you'd pay your money and if you want to be seen before people that were in there, then you give them an extra $25 to get put in front of the line."

Dr. Jelina Ip was licensed to practice naturopathic medicine in Arizona. Her license was suspended last year after DEA agents served a search warrant to gather evidence. Ip and her family ran the clinic and even lived there.

This time, agents came back with arrest warrants for Dr. Ip and her mother, Alane Ip.

Several employees now find themselves without a job.

"We don't get paid in checks. We get paid cash," said Kristen and Victoria.

They say they didn't know their bosses were the center of a drug investigation.

"As far as what they're telling us, there's a lot of stuff behind the scenes going on.. a lot of bad prescriptions, patients not coming down from medications."

Local pharmacies, however, were aware of the clinic's reputation.

"One day, I went there.. they just stopped taking prescriptions. They're like, we don't take prescriptions from these people anymore," said a patient.

The Ips could soon be facing dozens of felony counts, including several drug and fraud charges.