SEATTLE MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO UNLAWFUL DIVERSION OF PHARMACEUTICAL CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES
Drugs Sold From Antique Store Owned by Defendant
RICHARD GLEN FRIEND, 63, of Seattle, Washington, appeared today in U. S. District Court in Seattle and pleaded guilty to the felony offense of acquiring controlled substances by deception and subterfuge in violation of federal law. This offense is punishable by up to four years in prison, a $250,000, and up to one year of supervised release.
FRIEND is the owner/operator of Daily Planet Antiques, located at 6016 Phinney Avenue North, in Seattle, Washington. During the Fall of 2006, through the Spring of 2008, in addition to working at Daily Planet Antiques, FRIEND was unlawfully acquiring and distributing pharmaceutical controlled substances to others. Some of these activities occurred at his business. Controlled substances unlawfully sold by FRIEND to others included pills containing oxycodone, methylphenidate, methadone, alprazolam, hydromorphone, and clonazepan. Some of these drugs were obtained by FRIEND through a drug supplier in California, who was also unlawfully acquiring such substances for further sale to others. The drugs were sent by express mail in a plain envelope from California to Seattle, addressed to “Richard Glen.” FRIEND would pick up the drugs, sign for them in the name “Richard Glen,” and send payment back to the California source.
One such package, seized by law enforcement at a mail facility in Seattle during April 2008, contained 97 tablets of hydromorphone, commonly marketed as Dilaudid, a powerful and addictive narcotic painkiller, and 195 tablets of alprazolam, commonly marketed as Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug.
FRIEND is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Richard A. Jones on January 9, 2008.
National statistics show an increasing level of unlawful diversion and abuse of pharmaceutical controlled substances, as well as overdoses of such drugs resulting in rising medical costs, serious injury, and death. The unlawful possession and diversion of such substances by individuals – be it by patients, non-patients, or by medical professionals, contributes to this escalating problem, poses a danger to the user and to others, and constitutes a violation of federal law.
This case is part of a continuing Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation focused upon the unlawful diversion of pharmaceutical controlled substances within the Western District of Washington and elsewhere.
The case was 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.