MILWAUKEE – Two of the Racine doctors face federal charges for allegedly taking part in a cocaine distribution ring that operated in Racine and Kenosha counties from 2006 to 2009.
Dr. Steven Armus, who practiced as a dermatologist, and Dr. Michael Ganz, practicing as an allergist were indicted on Tuesday. Five other people are charged in the indictment, that include a man named Darin Engquist of Kenosha against whom the charges were filed in the month of July. The alleged activity mainly took place in Kenosha, and some offenses were reported in Racine, Sturtevant and Waterford.
The conspiracy of distributing at least 5 kilograms of cocaine was allegedly planned by Armus, Ganz, Engquist and Shawnna Green of Kenosha. As per reports, they got the drug from northern Illinois, and then put it up for wholesale and retail sales.
Armus had to face the maximum charges. In addition to the conspiracy charge that was put on him, he faced six more counts of cocaine possession with an intent to distribute the same and one count of using drugs in possession of a firearm. The indictment states that he possessed a Mossberg International 12-gauge shotgun.
The indictment states charges of two counts, which is conspiracy and cocaine possession with the intent to distribute.
Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Sanders said that the charges grow out of the July complaint against Engquist. Further details have not been released about the new charges, he said. Engquist is kept in custody; he has to appear in court on March 18 for a status conference.
Sanders said that the six defendants who were indicted on Tuesday will be summoned to court within the next few weeks, where they will enter the initial pleas to the charges put against them.
This is not the first time that Armus has landed into trouble because of drugs.
The local dermatologist is stuck in an open criminal case in Kenosha County. An officer had reportedly found 26.6 grams of cocaine and $4,400 bills in his car when he was asked to stop on March 20, 2009. Armus faced charges of possession of cocaine for delivery, and is likely to face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. He participated in in-state and out-of-state rehabilitation programs, as per the online court records.
Armus was assessed by the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board after that incident. In August, the board said that he must participate in drug and alcohol treatment programs, keep himself away from alcohol and controlled substances, and undergo regular urine tests for drug use. Only then, will he be able to practice.
Armus along with other co-founders, formed Great Lakes Dermatology, which has its local offices in Racine and Mount Pleasant.
There are no active orders on Ganz’s license that would govern his ability to practice medicine. He runs Ganz Allergy and Asthma Center, located on Green Bay Road, Racine.
Spokesman David Carlson said that based on the federal indictments, the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing has opened investigations into the case of these two doctors. He said that the department will take action as and when warranted.
Cathy Dean, spoke for Great Lakes Dermatology and Ganz Allergy and Asthma Center, and said that the organizations had no comment to make on Drs. Armus and Ganz. Also, the doctors were unavailable, she said.
The other defendants also faced respective charges for the alleged activities revolving around cocaine possession and distribution.