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Press Release

Berkley Nurse Sentenced for Tampering with Patients' Fentanyl

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

BOSTON – A Berkley nurse was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston for tampering with fentanyl intended for patients at a hospital’s post-surgery recovery unit and an outpatient vascular surgery center.  

Hugo Vieira, 42, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Angel Kelley to five years of probation, with the first year to be served in home detention. Vieira was also ordered to pay a fine of $20,000. The government recommended a sentence of 38 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In May 2022, Vieira pleaded guilty to one count of tampering with a consumer product. 

From 2017 to January 2019, while working at a Massachusetts hospital and an outpatient vascular surgery center, Vieira removed fentanyl from vials meant for patients who were undergoing surgery or recovering from surgery. To conceal his conduct, Vieira replaced the diverted fentanyl with saline. When his conduct was discovered, law enforcement identified 60 tampered vials at the vascular surgery center and two vials at the hospital post-surgery recovery unit. Those vials contained only 1.3–7% of the declared concentration of fentanyl citrate.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Fernando McMillan, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, New York Field Office; and Margret R. Cooke, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elysa Q. Wan and David J. Derusha of Rollins’ Criminal Division prosecuted the case.

Updated January 10, 2023

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