Former Worcester Paramedic Sentenced for Stealing Fentanyl from Ambulance
BOSTON – A former paramedic was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Worcester in connection with stealing Fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled substance, and then attempting to conceal her crime by replacing the Fentanyl with saline solution.
Teresa Torres, 42, who moved from Worcester to Sebring, Fla. after the offense, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In May 2015, Torres pleaded guilty to tampering with a consumer product, specifically vials containing the Schedule II controlled substance Fentanyl.
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. Torres was initially suspended from her paramedic job after it was discovered that she diverted morphine from ambulance supplies. The Fentanyl theft was discovered after she had been suspended.
The theft of a powerful opiate from an ambulance is plainly criminal, but what makes this tampering case particularly egregious is that patients in critical need of pain medication in emergencies are given saline instead of the necessary medication.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Spencer Morrison, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, Boston Resident 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.