A former commuter airline pilot based at Baltimore-Washington International Airport has been arrested for allegedly persuading dozens of doctors to give him hundreds of prescriptions for narcotic painkillers, Anne Arundel County police said yesterday.
Michael Demas, 38, of Glen Burnie, has not been employed as a pilot since January, but police allege that he was obtaining and filling numerous prescriptions for such highly addictive drugs as Demerol, codeine and Percodan since as far back as July 1989, when he was still commanding flights.
Sgt. John Santana, of Anne Arundel's pharmaceutical narcotics unit, said police have no evidence that Demas piloted an airplane while he was under the influence of prescription drugs or that he was selling narcotics to others. Prescription drugs such as the ones Demas allegedly was receiving "would have definitely impaired his performance," Santana said.
Demas has been charged with one count of using fraud to obtain narcotics and is free on his own recognizance. The Federal Aviation Administration has suspended Demas's commercial pilot's license while the investigation is continuing.
Santana said police began investigating Demas three weeks ago after they were contacted by several pharmacists who were concerned about the frequency of his visits to their stores.
A survey of the county's pharmacies revealed that Demas had filled prescriptions from 54 doctors at 29 locations in a 15-month period, usually after complaining of a bad back, Santana said.
Demas had been a pilot for American Eagle since February 1989 and worked at several other airlines before that, according to spokesmen for the company and the FAA. He was dismissed from American Eagle in January, a spokesman for the airline said.