News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6, 2008

Washington State Licensed Nurse Sentenced For Diverting
Narcotics From Nursing Home

Feb 6 -- (Seattle) – DEA Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Arnold R. Moorin and the United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington, Jeffrey Sullivan, announced that Diana L. Lancaster was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin H. Settle to four months imprisonment for the felony offense of Acquiring a Controlled Substance by Subterfuge and Deception.

During 2007 and continuing until October 2007, Lancaster was employed as a Registered Nurse (RN) at Evergreen Health and Rehabilitation, a nursing home in Bremerton, Washington. As a RN, Lancaster was administering long-term health care to the elderly and regularly came into contact with controlled substances that were prescribed by doctors for patients at the nursing home. During this time period, Lancaster stole medications from the facility, including multi-pill quantities of narcotics such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, dilaudid, and clonazepam. To conceal her thefts, Lancaster made notations on medical charts indicating that the drugs had been administered to the patients. Lancaster abused some of the drugs herself, provided some of the drugs to her husband for distribution, and sold some of the drugs herself to others.

On October 3, 2007, Lancaster was stopped by law enforcement as she departed the nursing home. Lancaster was found in possession of multi-pill quantities of dilaudid, clonazepam, hydrocodone, and methadone, which she had stolen from the nursing home. Lancaster’s home was searched and additional stolen drugs were located. On November 7, 2007, Lancaster pleaded guilty admitting not only to the theft of the narcotics, but also to extensive shoplifting activities.

At sentencing U.S District Judge Benjamin H. Settle noted, “that such a sentence was necessary to deter others and to punish” the defendant for her actions at the nursing home. The sentence of imprisonment is to be followed by a year of supervised release. As a condition of supervised release, Lancaster is prohibited from obtaining any job in any profession that would cause her to come into contact with controlled substances. Assistant United States Attorney Ronald Friedman noted, “this conduct was the antithesis of what one would expect from someone in the nursing profession.”

The investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Lancaster was conducted jointly by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bremerton Police Department.