They wound up with a mountain of evidence, but detectives say it merely scratches the surface of a man known to the drug community as Dr. Frank.
They say the name came up again and again in other investigations.
"Our detectives, when listening to wiretaps that were involved in those investigations, heard the name Dr. Frank on a number of occasions. When heroin users couldn't get heroin in mass because the heat was too hot, they heard this reference to a Doctor Frank," Nassau Co. Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey said.
Detectives say they connected the dots to Francis when a reformed drug abuser came forward, leading them to a family medicine practice in Massapequa. From that office, Francis allegedly dispensed controlled medications to so-called patients, but with no examination or diagnosis required.
"He has disgraced the reputation of the medical profession. He has damaged our community's greatest asset, our young people, and he will pay for that with the loss of his greatest asset, his freedom," Mulvey said.
Francis allegedly confessed to writing illegal scripts to at least forty people as young as eighteen years old.
His practice is just steps from Massapequa high school.
"My 88 year old grandma goes to him," Greg Pomponio said.
The arrest is hitting home with students. Many were dumbfounded to hear of the accused drug dealer next door.
"It's pretty flabbergasting to have it directly down the street from a high school, especially with the heroin epidemic supposedly sweeping Long Island. It's crazy," one said.
Defense attorney Thomas McCollough said he has yet to investigate the charges, but said his client insists he is innocent. He said Francis, who received his medical degree in India, was freed on $90,000 bail.
If convicted, Francis could be sentenced to 15 years in prison.