Two South Denver Pharmacists Plead Guilty to Felony Charges of Illegally Distributing Opioids
DENVER – Stanley (Stan) G. Callas, age 66, of Parker, and Scott Alan Eskanos, age 63, of Highlands Ranch, pled guilty today before Senior U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn to charges related to the illegal dispensing and distribution of controlled substances, U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer and DEA Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Tim McDermott announced. Both defendants are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Blackburn on March 14, 2019.
According to the stipulated facts contained in both defendants’ plea agreements, Stanley Callas and Scott Eskanos were co-owners of Crown Point Pharmacy, located in Parker, Colorado, and Sky Ridge Pharmacy, located at in Lone Tree, Colorado. Callas typically dispensed controlled substances from Crown Point Pharmacy and Eskanos typically dispensed controlled substances from Sky Ridge Pharmacy.
Callas pled guilty to illegal distribution of controlled substances on September 13, 2012, when he dispensed morphine, meperidine, and lorazepam to co-defendant Dianna Smithling outside the usual course of professional practice and for a purpose other than a legitimate medical purpose. Specifically, on September 13, 2012, Callas filled prescriptions for 1,500 morphine sulfate IR 30mg tablets; 450 morphine sulfate ER 60mg tablets; 30 morphine sulfate 100mg tablets; 180 injectable meperidine 100mg/ml vials; and 270 lorazepam 2mg tablets. Each prescription was written by co-defendant Dr. John Alan Littleford and purported to be for a 90-day supply. Smithling was Dr. Littleford’s office manager at the Pain & Injury Clinic in Parker, Colorado, when Callas distributed the controlled substances to her.
Based on the numbers of dosage units, the morphine equivalencies, plus the synergistic effects of taking these controlled substances together, Callas knew or should have known these prescriptions were not for a legitimate medical purpose. Callas also filled additional prescriptions well before the prescriptions he filled on September 13, 2012, were scheduled to run out. On October 9, 2012—approximately 26 days into the 90-day supply filled on September 13—Callas filled another prescription for 180 injectable meperidine 100mg/ml vials which was supposed to last for another 90 days. On November 5, 2012—approximately 53 days into the 90-day supply filled on September 13—Callas filled a prescription for 400 more morphine sulfate 30mg tablets and a prescription for 180 morphine sulfate 200mg tablets. Crown Point Pharmacy maintained real-time computer data which was accessible to Callas at every dispensing and made him aware of Crown Point Pharmacy’s dispensing history for each individual to whom he dispensed controlled substances. Callas did not exercise the degree of independent judgment which was required of him by law.
As part of his plea agreement, Callas agrees the Court can consider his distribution of controlled substances on five other occasions—involving more than 3,600 pills of various opioids, amphetamines, and benzodiazepines as well as fentanyl patches and vials of injectable meperidine—as relevant for sentencing in his case.
Eskanos pled guilty to illegal distribution of controlled substances on September 12, 2012, when he dispensed 840 oxycodone 30mg tablets to an individual who presented a prescription written by co-defendant Dr. Littleford outside the usual course of professional practice and for a purpose other than a legitimate medical purpose. Based on the numbers of dosage units and the morphine equivalencies, Eskanos knew or should have known this prescription was not for a legitimate medical purpose. Eskanos deliberately ignored obvious red flags in order to fill illegitimate prescriptions which were presented and which bore Dr. Littleford’s signature. For example, a review of historical data through the Colorado Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) or additional investigation with Dr. Littleford’s office would have revealed Dr. Littleford was also writing monthly prescriptions for the same individual for 360 oxycodone/acetaminophen 10mg/325mg tablets; 120 oxycodone 80mg tablets; 240 morphine sulfate ER 100mg tablets; 240 clonazepam 2 mg tablets; and 60 temazepam 15mg tablets, which the individual was filling at a pharmacy called Dale’s Pharmacy. In total, the individual was receiving 1,320 pills of oxycodone per month in addition to morphine and benzodiazepines. Sky Ridge Pharmacy maintained real-time computer data which was accessible to Eskanos at every dispensing and made him aware of Sky Ridge Pharmacy’s dispensing history for each individual to whom he dispensed controlled substances. Eskanos did not exercise the degree of independent judgment which was required of him by law.
As part of his plea agreement, Eskanos agrees the Court can consider his distribution of controlled substances on three other occasions—involving 1,500 pills of oxycodone and diazepam—as relevant for sentencing in his case.
As a term of their pretrial release in April 2016, Callas and Eskanos both agreed they would not be employed in any pharmaceutical capacity. Through their plea agreements, both defendants now agree they will not seek new pharmacy licenses or the return of the pharmacy licenses they previously surrendered pursuant to Non-disciplinary Cessation of Practice Agreements they reached with the Colorado Board of Pharmacy on April 22, 2016.
This case was investigated by the DEA Denver Division.
The defendants are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter McNeilly and Jaime Pena.