Broward County

Holy Cross anesthesiologist arrested on drug charges

An anesthesiologist working at Holy Cross Hospital was arrested Thursday night on charges he purchased crystal meth from undercover investigators and had the amphetamine and the club drug GHB at his home, officials said.

Dr. John R. Habib, 54, of Oakland Park, was charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine and possession of GHB, which is considered a date-rape drug. It is common for methamphetamine users to take GHB to come down from the meth high.

An undercover officer and confidential informant met the doctor at his house Thursday night and sold him 35 grams of crystal meth for $1,800, Fort Lauderdale police said in an arrest report. A team of investigators searched his home and found more drugs, the report said.

Fort Lauderdale police, the Broward Sheriff's Office and members of the regional High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force investigated the case together.

Habib has been a doctor in Florida since 2000 and has no disciplinary actions against him, state licensing records show. He got his medical degree from the University of Massachusetts in 1987 and did his residency in the Boston area.

He does not work directly for Holy Cross. He works for Florida Atlantic Anesthesia, a Fort Lauderdale medical group hired to supply anesthesiologists for surgeries and other procedures at the hospital, Holy Cross officials said.

"The Holy Cross Hospital community is saddened by the reports about the personal activities of Dr. John Habib, who is a member of the group that provides contracted anesthesia services," the hospital said in one-paragraph statement issued Friday.

The physicians who own and run the anesthesia group could not be reached for comment Friday despite phone messages at their offices.

Authorities in Oakland Park arrested Habib in June 2003 for felony possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, aggravated battery and resisting arrest without violence, criminal records show. The disposition of the case could not be immediately determined.

Habib was being held Friday in Broward County Jail on $102,100 bond.

State medical licensing officials declined to comment, and said a felony arrest may trigger a routine state investigation to determine if the doctor should continue practicing.

Staff Researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report.