Published: Apr 01, 2011 5:53 PM EDT
Updated: Apr 01, 2011 2:53 PM EDT

MIAMI - The former operator of a half-dozen South Florida pain clinics has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring to illegally dispense thousands of doses of oxycodone.

The plea was entered Friday in Miami federal court by 42-year-old Vincent Colangelo. He is the highest-profile of 20 people arrested in February raids of pill mills coordinated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Colangelo attorney Alvin Entin says his client operated a legal business and he expects the case to go to trial.

Florida is the epicenter of the nation's growing prescription drug abuse problem. Prosecutors say Colangelo's business used the Internet to direct people to his clinics and dispensed some 660,000 oxycodone pills between January 2009 and December 2010.

Colangelo is also charged with money laundering. He is being held without bail.

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