Drug Charges Filed Against Former Dentist

Tuesday, February 20th 2007, 10:00 am
By: News On 6

A former dentist now faces felony drug charges after police say he illegally ordered and sold painkillers and anti-anxiety pills. News On 6 reporter Chris Wright reports thousands of pills were found in the man’s home.

73 year-old John Riddlebarger stopped practicing dentistry nearly five years ago, but authorities say that didn't stop him from distributing prescription drugs. The Bartlesville Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Agency say they recently videotaped Riddlebarger placing a bottle of pills in one of his shrubs. Shortly after someone arrived, took the pills and placed several hundred dollars in the shrubs, said officials.

On Friday, Bartlesville Police raided the home and arrested Riddlebarger. Police say they found 6,000 hydrocodone and Valium pills during their search of his home. On Tuesday, the former dentist was charged with six felonies, including distributing controlled dangerous substances within 2,000 feet of a park, and acquiring proceeds from drug activity.

Neighbors say Riddlebarger kept to himself, but they never suspected he might be involved with anything illegal.

"None of us could really believe this, we had no indication of this happening," neighbor Don Johnston said.

Oklahoma Board of Dentistry President Druce Horn says there is no way the former dentist should have been able to get a hold of those pills. Riddlebarger had his license cancelled in March of 2002 after he failed to complete requirements necessary to have the license renewed.

"That license is no longer licensed, and does not have that ability to distribute dangerous drugs and narcotics,” Horn said.

Even though Horn's organization has no jurisdiction over Riddlebarger, he says it is disappointing when any dentist gets involved with drugs.

"Unfortunately, people do lose their way, lose their compass heading,” he said. “For some reason, they make decisions leading to places that harm people."

The street value of the pills seized from Riddlebarger’s home is $30,000, said police.

Riddlebarger's bail is set at $100,000.