Raids have been carried out on the US homes and offices of the doctors who prescribed drugs to former Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith, who died of an overdose.
California Department of Justice agents yesterday raided the office of Ms Smith’s psychiatrist, Dr Khristine Eroshevich, and the home and office of Dr Sandeep Kapoor, who prescribed the painkiller methadone to Smith shortly before her death.
In all, six locations were raided, said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. Authorities did not name the doctors but their lawyers confirmed the searches.
Ms Smith died of an accidental drug overdose in February at a Florida hotel. She was 39.
The department began investigating in March because “dangerous drugs ... were part of the death of Anna Nicole Smith, and I learned that these were California doctors and California prescriptions,” Attorney General Jerry Brown said at a news conference.
Mr Brown declined to speculate on what charges the doctors might face if it was determined they improperly prescribed drugs but said: “You don’t go to a judge and get a search warrant for somebody’s home unless you think some rather serious crime has been committed.”
Eroshevich’s lawyer, Gary Lincenberg, told KNBC-TV that the investigation only concerned whether prescriptions to Smith were proper.
“This has nothing to do with whether or not Dr Eroshevich in any way contributed to Anna Nicole Smith’s death,” he said.
Ellyn Garafalo, a lawyer for Kapoor, confirmed the doctor’s home and offices were searched but declined to comment further.
The Medical Board of California is investigating both Kapoor and Eroshevich. According to documents, Dr Eroshevich authorised all 11 prescription medications found in Smith’s hotel room the day she died. Dr Eroshevich had travelled with Smith to Florida.
More than 600 pills, including 450 muscle relaxants, were missing from prescriptions that were no more than five weeks old, according to the documents obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request.
Brown said he did not know if the criminal probe could lead to exhumation of Smith’s body, which is buried in the Bahamas.
Asked if the probe would expand to include Ms Smith’s son, Daniel, who died of a drug overdose in the Bahamas less than five months before his mother, Mr Brown replied: “We’re not setting any limits on this investigation.”