Dentist charged in drug scheme

WARREN – A local dentist pleaded not guilty Friday to a 15-count secret indictment charging him with selling prescription painkillers and using an associate to get the drugs from various pharmacies.

Dr. Mark P. Jones, 48, of Ridge Road, Cortland, posted $10,000 after the brief court appearance. He is scheduled to appear at a pre-trial June 17 before Common Pleas Judge Peter Kontos.

He practices with Gentle Family Dentistry offices on East Market Street in Howland.

Jones is accused of selling or offering more than the bulk amount of Oxycodone between March and December 2011 – all aggravated drug trafficking charges that are third-degree felonies punishable by up to five years in prison.

Assistant county prosecutor Gina Buccino Arnaut said the case is connected to a 10-count secret indictment against Bernie Vacca, a business associate of Jones who makes dentures for the office.

Vacca, 55, of Girdle Road, West Farmington, pleaded not guilty to deception to obtain dangerous drugs charges on Monday and was released on $7,500 bond. He was scheduled for a pre-trial June 13 before Judge Ronald Rice.

Most of Vacca’s charges occurred between April 2011 and January 2012. Arnaut said Vacca, who was under a doctor’s care, would use his own prescriptions for Hydrocodone and other prescriptions written by Jones, have them filled at pharmacies and then split the drugs with Jones.

The cases were investigated by Ohio’s Board of Pharmacy and the Trumbull-Ashtabula Group Law Enforcement Task Force.