Pouring powder analyzed as alprazolam (brand name: Xanax) and zolpidem (brand name: Ambien) in a woman’s drink at a Boca Raton restaurant’s bar cost a Palm Beach County neurologist his medical license this week.
The state Board of Medicine’s final order revoking Dr. Mircea Morariu’s license posted Monday. At the hearing before the final order, Morariu was present but not represented by an attorney. The allegations in the administrative complaint, taken from the arrest report, were adopted as findings of fact.
As far as the criminal side of the situation, Morariu is just over two years into a five-year probation on a charge of poisoning food or water. He pleaded “best interest,” which means he doesn’t admit to guilt and can still disagree about what happened. But according to USlaw.com, he “admits that the prosecution could likely prove the charge. The court will pronounce the defendant guilty.”
Morariu’s online Florida Department of Health license profile says the Delray Beach neurologist has been licensed since Aug. 26, 1999, with no previous discipline issues.
Powdering a drink while she’s in the powder room?
The arrest report says on Sept. 10, 2018, Morariu met with a female friend at the now-closed Ouzo Bay at 201 Plaza Real in Boca Raton. The woman, the report says, later told police she has known Morariu for almost 20 years through mutual friends. She said they met to talk about his engagement to someone from whom she thought Morariu had separated. She later told police she’d taken a Xanax, for which she had a prescription, the day or two before and had snorted cocaine within a week.
When she got to Ouzo Bay, she said, Morariu was already at the bar. They ordered food and drinks, a martini for her. Early in the second round of drinks, she said, she headed for the restroom.
That’s when surveillance cameras spot Morariu appearing to reach into his pocket, but “technical difficulties” cause the video to pause before Morariu does anything with the woman’s drink. Another customer sitting at the bar told police she clearly saw him pull out a small plastic bag of powder, pour it into his hand and dump it into her drink.
That witness told police that when she saw the woman with Morariu sip her drink, she walked outside and called the manager, the manager told the bartender and they grabbed the glass, but not before Morariu’s friend had more of her martini. She said when she returned from the restroom, Morariu pushed the glass toward her and moved her water glass away. The manager, bartender and police noticed a “white powdery substance” at the bottom and on the rim of the glass.
By this time, Morariu had gone to the restroom, and when he came out, he was confronted by police. He denied putting powder into his friend’s glass, then availed himself of his right to remain silent. His dining and drinking partner had been taken to Boca Raton Hospital, where detectives found her “slightly incoherent” and unable to provide a statement.
When blood, urine and chemical tests came back, the woman tested positive for alprazolam, zolpidem and cocaine; the plastic bag contained residue of alprazolam and zolpidem; and the martini glass had zolpidem residue.