RIPLEY, Tenn. — The FBI was busy Friday serving warrants in some rural areas in West Tennessee, but it would not say what the raids of the three medical clinics concerned.
The FBI raids were at Care Rite centers in Dyersburg, Halls and Ripley, according to an FBI spokesperson.
Residents in Ripley said this could threaten the health and well-being of their entire community.
While WREG was at the scene, people were walking up to the family healthcare practice to find a sign saying the business is temporarily closed. The FBI confirmed it has been investigating.
“I am just in shock and awe,” Paulette Maners, a potential patient, said. “All I can say is wow.”
Left out in the cold, Maners was forced to make some desperate phone calls Friday. She said a lot of people like her rely on the Care Rite walk-in clinic.
“Couple kids and my niece goes there. They always get good treatment,” Maners said.
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Amit Chauhan, the owner of the business next door, said he knows people go to the clinic because of its ease of access.
“It’s very convenient for Ripley people because it’s no appointment and open from morning to night at 8:00,” Chauhan said.
This is why some residents find the raids concerning.
“It’s kind of worrying depending on what they find, what happens,” patient Charleston Stephens said.
Former mayor Richard Douglas said the owner is a local doctor whom moved to Ripley about 15 years ago. He has a good reputation and more importantly meets a huge need for healthcare in the community.
“What bothers me more about this than anything is we’re on the verge of losing our hospital,” Douglas said.
That hospital, the Lauderdale Community Hospital is plagued by financial issues, and it could shut down any day. That’s why Care Rite’s walk-in clinic is so important.
“Can’t live without it. Too many people will die,” Douglas said.
But with the Care Rite closed and under investigation, that’s exactly what Douglas is afraid will happen.
The United States Attorney’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration are also working on the case. We were told they’re going over evidence gathered Friday.
No charges have been filed yet, but if they are, we’ll let you know.