A former pharmacist will forfeit guns, ammunition, gold and silver coins seized from places including his pharmacy, and is sentenced for a drug distribution conspiracy
The US pharmacist has been sentenced to more than 14 years in prison for the conspiracy and for attempting to arrange a murder, which he had been told had been carried out.
David Robinson, a former licensed pharmacist who operated the Frankford Family Pharmacy in Baltimore, Maryland, has been sentenced in a US District Court.
Mr Robinson had been facing federal charges of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and alprazolam and for murder for hire.
In October 2018, he pleaded guilty to a federal drug conspiracy involving the distribution of oxycodone and alprazolam outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose, the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland, said in a statement this week.
According to the former pharmacist’s plea agreement, a confidential source, identified as CS-1, had advised law enforcement that the pharmacist at Frankford Family Pharmacy would knowingly fill fraudulent scripts for the two drugs.
A Drug Enforcement Administration investigation included the use of this confidential source to make several controlled purchases from Mr Robinson at the store.
This person used blank prescriptions provided to them by the DEA.
The Department says that Mr Robinson knew the scripts were fraudulent, as he had told the confidential source what name to use on them, and how many oxycodone tablets to make it out for.
Mr Robinson also told the person to include non-controlled medications on the same scripts, a gambit aimed at evading law enforcement.
Between April 2015 and June 2017, Mr Robinson fraudulently distributed approximately 12,330 units of alprazolam and 10,000 milligrams of oxycodone.
In June 2017, a federal grand jury in Maryland indicted Mr Robinson for a drug conspiracy involving the distribution of oxycodone and alprazolam.
He was arrested several days later and then released from custody under supervision, pleading guilty in October 2018 to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone and alprazolam and one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and alprazolam.
His pharmacist license was suspended in August 2017.
The pharmacist was allowed to continue on conditions of release until his sentencing, which at that point was scheduled for February 15, 2019.
Meanwhile, DEA investigators found out that while Mr Robinson had been working the night shift at another pharmacy, this time in Waldorf, Maryland, he had filled fraudulent oxycodone scripts there, too.
He admitted that he had written scripts using the names of prominent athletes provided to him as the purported patients.
He admitted that between September and December 2015, he had dispensed at least 85,500 milligrams of oxycodone, outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.
And in late October 2018 – a couple of weeks after he had pleaded guilty to the first charges –Baltimore City’s CitiWatch camera system (a voluntary registry of private surveillance systems utilised by police) captured a drug transaction.
This led to the arrest of a person the Department identifies only as CS-2.
This person’s vehicle was searched and investigators found two shoeboxes containing 35 stock pharmacy bottles of promethazine and clonidine.
It was revealed that David Robinson had supplied these prescription drugs to CS-2, who he had known for about three years.
This person had previously purchased oxycodone, Xanax, clonidine, and promethazine from Mr Robinson at the Frankford Family Pharmacy.
After the search warrant was executed at Mr Robinson’s pharmacy on June 27, 2017, Robinson had begun providing CS-2 with boxes of medications in exchange for cash without requiring a prescription.
Mr Robinson continued to sell promethazine and clonidine and six months after the raid, Mr Robinson was still ordering pills from his vendors.
The investigation revealed that after his 2017 arrest, Mr Robinson had told CS-2 that he believed another person – CS-1 – had been speaking to police, leading to the pharmacist’s arrest.
The pharmacist and CS-2 then discussed the possibility of murdering CS-1, agreeing after some time that this should be their plan.
Mr Robinson gave CS-2 information about CS-1, and CS-2 told the pharmacist about a person they knew who could perform a “hit” on them.
CS-2 said the fee would be US$5000 (AUD$6,488) up front and another US$5000 on completion.
Mr Robinson admitted that between December 13, 2018 and February 7, 2019, CS-2 made three controlled purchases of drugs from him, at the direction of law enforcement, using cash provided by DEA agents.
CS-2 purchased a total of 118 stock pharmacy bottles of clonidine, each containing 100 tablets; and 24 stock pharmacy bottles of 50 mg promethazine tablets, with each bottle containing 100 tablets. Mr Robinson did not request, nor did CS-2 provide, a prescription for any of the drugs.
The pair continued to discuss the murder, including during a controlled purchase on January 24, 2019.
They discussed the $5000 that had already been paid to the hitman, and that an associate of the hitman had information about CS-1’s whereabouts.
The hitman’s associate wanted another US$3000 to tell the hitman where the intended victim was, and Mr Robinson was unhappy about being asked to pay this extra fee.
He did not agree to pay it, but on February 4, 2019, CS-2 sent a text to the pharmacist saying he had provided the extra $3000.
On February 14, he called Mr Robinson and told the pharmacist that the murder had been completed.
They met, and the pharmacist gave CS-2 $2000, which he put in his pocket.
The pharmacist then asked for proof that the murder had been committed.
CS-2 showed him some fake photos in which it appeared that CS-1 had been bound with zip ties, shot several times, and killed.
After this meeting, law enforcement arrested the pharmacist.
On December 17, 2020, Mr Robinson pleaded guilty to a federal charge of murder for hire, admitting that he ordered the hit.
US District Judge George L. Russell, III sentenced Mr Robinson to 171 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
He will also forfeit items seized during search warrants executed at his home, the Frankford Family Pharmacy, his car and a safe deposit box he was renting.
These include: US$159,862 (AUD$20,7432) in cash from Mr Robinson’s home; US$46,927 (AUD$60,891) in a briefcase, blank prescriptions, a prescription pad, and a loaded 9mm pistol from Mr Robinson’s car.
It also includes another US$60,486 (AUD$78,485) in cash, an AR-15 rifle with a magazine, several boxes of ammunition for the rifle from the pharmacy; and US$25,041 (AUD$32,493) in cash, US$4,500 (AUD$5,839) in gold coins, and US$1,010 (AUD$1,311) in silver coins from the safe deposit box.
“Pharmacists who divert pharmaceutical drugs for illegal purposes further the tragic cycle of addiction and the epidemic of opioid overdose deaths,” said Acting US Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner.
“David Robinson not only betrayed the trust placed in him by diverting drugs in order to line his own pockets, he then attempted to have the person killed whom he believed had reported his abuses. We have zero tolerance for any effort to intimidate or retaliate against witnesses.”