Albuquerque woman pleads guilty to fraudulently acquiring prescription controlled substance
Earlier today, Dolores Centeno, 35, of Albuquerque, pleaded guilty to acquiring a controlled substance through fraudulent means and attempting to acquire a controlled substance through fraudulent means before United States Magistrate Judge Alan C. Torgerson. Specifically, Centeno entered guilty pleas to Counts 1 through 4, charging her with obtaining hydrocodone by fraudulent means, and Count 45, charging her with attempting to obtain hydrocodone by fraudulent means, of a 45-count federal indictment under a plea agreement with the United States Attorney's Office. Centeno has been on conditions of release since her arrest on October 22, 2010. Centeno remains on conditions of release pending a sentencing hearing when she faces up to four years imprisonment at sentencing. Her sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.
United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that Centeno was arrested on October 22, 2010 after a pharmacy technician contacted the Rio Rancho Police Department and New Mexico Board of Pharmacy after determining that Centeno was trying to obtain hydrocodone with a fraudulent prescription. The criminal complaint filed in the case indicates that, on October 21, 2010, a prescription for hydrocodone was called into the Walgreens Pharmacy in Rio Rancho by a person who claimed to be employed by a physician. The following day, when Centeno attempted to pick up the medication at the Walgreens Pharmacy's drive-through window, the pharmacy technician called the physician's office and learned that the prescription was fraudulent. The technician then called the authorities who took Centeno into custody in a nearby parking lot. The complaint alleges that, after her arrest, Centeno admitted to using fraudulent prescriptions to obtain hydrocodone for more than eighteen months.
In her plea agreement, Centeno admitted that she obtained hydrocodone through fraudulent means on February 8, 2010, February 10, 2010, February 11, 2010 and February 17, 2010, and that she attempted to obtain hydrocodone through fraudulent means on October 22, 2010 from retail pharmacies in Bernalillo County and Sandoval County. On each occasion, Centeno fabricated a prescription under the legitimate DEA license of a practicing physician without the physician's knowledge or consent.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Rio Rancho Police Department and the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Samuel A. Hurtado.