News and Press Releases

"Pharmacist Sentenced For Tampering With And Stealing Narcotic Medicines At Kennewick And Richland Pharmacies"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4, 2012

Spokane – Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Kenyon Neal Lyle, Jr. was sentenced in Richland, Washington to a 48 month term of imprisonment, to be followed by an additional thirty six month term of supervision following release from Federal prison. Lyle, who previously worked as a licensed Pharmacist, had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of Tampering With Consumer Products, in violation of 18 U.S.C. section 1365, and seven counts of Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud, in violation of 21 U.S.C. section 843(a)(3). At the sentencing hearing, Senior District Court Judge Edward F. Shea described Lyle's conduct as "morally reprehensible."

The Superseding Indictment in this case charged that, during the Summer and Fall of 2009, the Kenyon Neal Lyle, Jr. tampered with the narcotic drug Fentanyl, by opening the manufacturer's box containing Fentanyl transdermal patches, removing the patches, re-gluing the manufacturer's box and returning the then-empty manufacturer's boxes to a secured narcotics storage cabinet in the pharmacy where he worked. This fact came to light after a pharmacy customer, who received two empty boxes, filed a report with the Kennewick Police Department. Further investigation revealed other empty manufacturer's boxes, as well as theft of Fentanyl and other controlled substances by Lyle using multiple means, included the destruction of records to conceal the theft of a shipment of Fentanyl, altering existing prescriptions to divert controlled substances, as well as the creation of fictitious prescription for a non-existent pharmacy customers to divert controlled substances. During this offense, the Lyle was a licensed Pharmacist working at pharmacies in Kennewick and Richland, Washington.

Michael C. Ormsby stated, "When medication is dispensed to the public, we place ourselves completely in the hands of our medical professionals. The public has every right to expect that licensed Pharmacists will dispense medication in a safe, effective, and proper manner. It is particularly egregious when medication is diverted by the very professionals in whom the public places its trust." Mr. Ormsby added, "While many individuals expended considerable effort over several years to reach this result, I want to particularly commend the work of the Kennewick Police Department, without whom the many other partner agencies would have been unable to pursue this prosecution to its successful conclusion. Their thorough initial investigation and willingness to allocate resources to a jointly pursued prosecution is an example of how a strong State and Federal partnership can result in an increase in public safety in this District."

This investigation was initiated by Detective William Dramis of the Kennewick Police Department and was pursued with the cooperation and assistance of Special Agent James Burkhardt of the Office of Criminal Investigations for the Food and Drug Administration and Investigator Tyler Varnum of the Washington State Board of Pharmacy. This case was prosecuted by Alex Ekstrom, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

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