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Press Release

Denver Nurse Sentenced After Pleading Guilty to Stealing Fentanyl from Hospital Patients

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado

DENVER – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announces Alejandro Gort, 39, of Denver, was sentenced to five years of probation after he earlier pleaded guilty to obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and deception.

According to the plea agreement, the defendant worked the night shift at a Denver hospital on March 3, 2021. He was assigned to care for a critically ill patient admitted to the Sick and Intensive Care Unit following emergency surgery for a head injury. The patient was comatose and intubated when Mr. Gort was assigned to care for him. The defendant initiated a fentanyl drip to treat the patient’s pain, but stole the majority of the bag of fentanyl for his own use, concealing his crime by lowering the drip rate on the IV pump and failing to accurately document the flow rate in the patient’s medical record. He then used this fentanyl at the hospital during his shift. Later during the same shift, the defendant drained a second bag of fentanyl hung for the patient into a cup, then filled the bag with saline to facilitate and conceal the theft. The defendant intended to take the cup of fentanyl for his personal use, but hospital staff interrupted him and escorted him out of the building. According to other staff members, the defendant’s drug use affected his behavior and clinical judgments. There is no evidence that the patient was harmed by the defendant’s act of illegally obtaining the fentanyl. The defendant participated in a voluntary interview with law enforcement agents on March 11, 2021. During that interview, the defendant admitted that he diverted drugs from the hospital between late 2020 and the date the hospital confronted him. He stated he usually obtained fentanyl by falsely identifying the drug as “waste” that was to be discarded, but he kept the drugs for his personal use. He also admitted to using saline to waste fentanyl bags after diverting the fentanyl. The defendant stated he used the drugs at work.

“The defendant knowingly and repeatedly risked patient health for his own selfish interests,” said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan. “Medical professionals have to be held to the highest standard when caring for critically ill patients. Stealing controlled substances is illegal, and this criminal conduct will be dealt with by facing prosecution under federal law.“

“Patients rely on the knowledge that they will receive FDA-approved medications to manage their conditions,” said Special Agent in Charge Charles L. Grinstead, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, Kansas City Field Office. “When health care professionals tamper with those needed medications, we will pursue and bring them to justice.”

Judge Regina M. Rodriguez sentenced the defendant on October 28, 2022.

This case was investigated by the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI).

Case Number: 21-cr-00227.


Deborah Takahara
Public Affairs Specialist

Updated November 1, 2022