VERO BEACH – A grand jury indicted a Vero Beach doctor this week on several federal drug charges.
Johnny Clyde Benjamin Jr., 51, was indicted on charges of:
- Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance resulting in death
- Knowingly and intentionally distributing a controlled substance resulting in a death
- Attempted possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance
If convicted, the Vero Beach Pro Spine doctor will face 20 years to life in prison.
U.S. Magistrate Judge James M. Hopkins in West Palm Beach ordered Benjamin be held in federal custody until his charges are resolved.
In his order, Hopkins noted the “very serious” charges Benjamin faces.
“They involve very dangerous drug manufacturing and dealing, continuing after causing death, with efforts to cover up any future drug overdoses,” Hopkins wrote.
“The weight of the evidence against the defendant is overwhelming.”
Benjamin’s next court date for Nov. 3 in West Palm Beach, where the case will be prosecuted in federal court.
Benjamin was arrested initially on attempted fentanyl trafficking and robbery charges Oct. 12 by the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.
The victim told deputies that Benjamin grabbed his Android cell phone and placed it into a Planters peanut jar that was filled with cotton balls.
The physician refused to give back the phone and asked the victim to leave his office.
Benjamin is being represented by lawyers Larry Donald Murrell, Jr., out of West Palm Beach, and Andy Metcalf of Vero Beach.