LONGVIEW MAN PLEADS GUILTY IN SW WASHINGTON PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE NETWORK
Defendant Admits He Illegally Sold Lorazapam
JASON M. THOMAS, 37, of Longview, Washington pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Tacoma today to Distribution of Lorazepam, a prescription tranquillizer. In his plea agreement, THOMAS admits that during 2007 he sold Lorazepam to others from his residence in Longview. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Franklin D. Burgess on January 4, 2008.
THOMAS was indicted in August 2007, as part of a coordinated law enforcement effort to address a growing problem of prescription drug abuse in Southwest Washington. Lorazepam, is a prescription tranquillizer that is highly addictive. During the course of this eight month investigation, the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Narcotics Task Force members used undercover agents, officers and informants to purchase the narcotics. Many of the transactions were recorded on video and audio. THOMAS is the fifth of several defendants indicted federally to plead guilty.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, 6 million Americans are currently abusing controlled substance prescription drugs – that is more than the number abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants combined. Researchers at the Center for Disease Control report that opiate prescription pain killers cause more overdose deaths than cocaine and heroin. Cowlitz County has seen increasing numbers of overdoses and deaths from prescription narcotics.
Distribution of Lorazepam is punishable by up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The cases were investigated by the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Narcotics Task Force, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The August arrests involved officers and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, Wahkiakum County Sheriff’s Office, the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office, the Longview Police Department, the Kelso Police Department, the Castle Rock Police Department, the Washington State Patrol, the U.S. Marshal Service, and the Washington State Department of Corrections.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ronald J. Friedman.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.