Former Worcester Paramedic Pleads Guilty to Tampering with Fentanyl Vials
BOSTON – A former paramedic pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Worcester today to tampering with vials of Fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled substance.
Teresa Torres, 42, who moved from Worcester to Sebring, Fla. after the offense, pleaded guilty to tampering with a consumer product, specifically vials containing the Schedule II controlled substance Fentanyl after being indicted in September 2014. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled sentencing for Sept.11, 2015.
From November 2012 until February 2013, Torres worked as a paramedic for Vital Emergency Services in Worcester. Beginning around Nov. 19, 2012, and continuing through Jan. 26, 2013, Torres tampered with vials of Fentanyl by removing the narcotic from vials kept in the ambulances used by Vital Emergency Services and replacing it with another liquid. In total, Torres tampered with approximately 25 vials of Fentanyl. Fentanyl is commonly administered for pain relief. During the course of the plea hearing, the government alleged that Torres was initially suspended from her paramedic job after diverting morphine from ambulance supplies. The Fentanyl diversion was discovered after she had been suspended.
The charging statute provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Jeffrey J. Ebersole, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, New York Field Office; and Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH, of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Division of Food and Drugs, Drug Control Program, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle L. Dineen Jerrett of Ortiz’s Worcester Branch Office.