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Bail revoked for heart surgeon facing marijuana charges
Friday, December 11, 2009
By CHERIE WARD
PASCAGOULA David Bruce Allen, a former local heart surgeon, will remain in jail following his latest arrest on charges of felony witness manipulation.
Allen, 53, was previously charged with cultivation of marijuana and selling hashish while in the possession of a firearm. He was released from the Jackson County Adult Detention Center in April on $50,000 bail.
County Judge Larry Wilson revoked that bail Thursday morning.
The new charges, filed early Wednesday morning, were two counts of bribing a witness against Allen in the previous case as well as two counts of tampering with a witness and two counts of attempting to induce perjury.
Wilson set a total bail of $60,000 for the second round of charges but said Allen would remain jailed pending the outcome of the first allegations.
Allen was first arrested in Sacramento, Calif., on the drug charges in March, a month after a drug raid on property he owned on Mississippi 613 in north Escatawpa known as The Blue Hole.
Agents seized about $1,000 worth of hashish a drug derived from marijuana along with marijuana worth about $800, marijuana seeds, nutrient fertilizers, ultraviolet lights, carbon dioxide production systems, an air filtration and humidification system, seven guns and $450 in cash.
Also arrested in that case on drug charges were Allen's sister, Gail Ann Allen Lee, 48, and her husband, Rodney Shane Lee, 41, who were living on the property at the time as caretakers.
After Wilson revoked Allen's bail, Matt Baldridge, a Jackson attorney, argued that there was no probable cause to charge his client with the six new counts, and his bail should stand.
"I'm relatively fresh out of law school," Baldridge said. "I may be guilty of reading the black letter of the law to a degree more than those practicing for a while, but I respectfully request that my client's bail stands until there is a preliminary hearing and probable cause is determined."
The judge disagreed and said probable cause was determined when he signed a warrant for Allen's arrest.
Allen, who said in court that he was still a practicing physician, tried to speak to Wilson on his own behalf but was silenced by Baldridge.
While waiting for the hearing to begin at the Jackson County Courthouse in Pascagoula, a rumpled looking Allen spoke to members of the media and often accused law enforcement agents of conspiring against him and planting the drugs discovered at his home.
"They want my land because it's the last fresh body of water," Allen said across the courtroom.
He further alleged abuse from officers while jailed.
"God will save me," Allen shouted to reporters.
"This could happen to you and your family," he said. "I'm innocent of these charges. They are charging me with a crime I did not commit. I was only trying to help my sister."
Allen also says on several videos posted on YouTube that the drug allegations are false. On one video, Allen accuses law enforcement officers of being "domestic terrorists."
In another YouTube video, the doctor touts his Medical Cannabis Evaluation clinic in Sacramento, and shows his patients smoking marijuana for medicinal purposes. In California, marijuana can be legally used for medicinal purposes with a prescription.
Lt. Curtis Spiers, commander of the Narcotics Task Force of Jackson County, said Sacramento police shut down Allen's clinic last week, citing misconduct, and he called the YouTube claims "comical."
Before opening his California clinic, Allen worked as a heart surgeon at Singing River Hospital from 1996 to 2001 and 2002 to 2007, said Richard Lucas, hospital spokesman.
"He had a clinic in Pascagoula and had medical privileges at Singing River Hospital, but he was not on our staff," Lucas said. "We think the situation is unfortunate, but we have not spoken to him since he left the medical staff."
As Allen left the courthouse on Thursday, he waved his cuffed hands and shook a finger at Spiers.
"He's trying to take my property from my children," Allen accused Spiers.
Spiers said only, "He'll get his day in court."
The judge set Allen's preliminary hearing for Jan. 11 but said if Jackson County District Attorney Tony Lawrence and Baldridge agreed to an earlier date, he would oblige.
The March charges carry a $1 million fine and up to 30 years in prison. This week's charges carry a total of 28 years in prison.