Fake Dentist Reportedly Used 'Crude' Office To Make Meth

By William Georgiades 03/27/17

Police say that the suspect's dental practice had been in operation for about six years. 

Joseph Hirsch
Joseph Hirsch via San Mateo Sheriff's Office

A convicted felon was charged last week in San Carlos, California with operating as a dentist without a license. Mercury News reports that the man was also accused of using his fake dental practice as a place to allegedly cook meth.

The arrest followed a three-month investigation by both the San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force and the California Department of Dentistry, leading to a search warrant served to 59-year old Joseph Hirsch.

When investigators searched the business—named Thermo Dental and surrounded by warehouses and auto-repair shops in an industrial area—they discovered dental equipment, controlled substances, ammunition and brass knuckles. The business had been in operation for about six years at the time of the raid.

Hirsch did have a denture manufacturing business but was not licensed to fit the dentures, which he is alleged to have been doing, according to the California Department of Consumer Affairs.

The search warrant revealed "a crude dentist office" which consisted of a dentist’s chair, x-ray machine and dental tools, according to the sheriff’s office.

“It is suspected that Mr. Hirsch was providing dental treatment to various patients without a license. As a result of this search, narcotics and equipment commonly used to manufacture narcotics" were seized, the sheriff's office said in a news release.

The fake dentist and alleged meth manufacturer is being held on $500,000 bail at San Mateo County Jail, and faces charges of the manufacture of a controlled substance and possession of brass knuckles and ammunition as a felon. 

Dentistry and meth have another bizarre case in common. Back in 2015, Dr. John Wolf, a New York dentist, was arrested for allegedly giving his drug dealer a root canal in exchange for some meth, according to the New York Post. The HIV-positive dentist had allegedly revealed his misconduct to a federal informant, telling them that he intentionally tried to spread the virus to others, peddled child pornography out of his office and engaged in bestiality. 

Wolf's lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, later argued in court that meth may have led his client to embellish during his recorded conversations with the informant. “People on meth aren’t necessarily accurate historians,” said Agnifilo in a bail hearing in November 2015. “They exaggerate and say outlandish things. I don’t think any of that happened.”

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William Georgiades is a former editor at EsquireBlack Book, the New York Post and the Grapevine and has written for several publications including New York MagazineVanity Fair, the London Times and GQ. He has been the features editor at The Fix since 2013. You can find him on Linkedin.