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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Montana

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Montana Pharmacist Sentenced For Drug Death

BILLINGS - Ben Hunn, a 47-year-old licensed retail pharmacist in Sidney, Montana, was sentenced for the distribution of Vicodin resulting in death. Hunn was sentenced to 48 months in prison followed by 3 years supervised release.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette Stewart told the court that on October 19, 2013, Ben Willard Hunn, a Sidney pharmacist, distributed Vicodin (hydrocodone), Soma, Ambien, and Xanax to a Sidney, Montana resident. Later that night, the victim died of a drug overdose. When Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents interviewed Hunn, he admitted that he diverted hundreds of prescription pills to the victim and the victim's parents over the course of a year, from October 2012 through October 2013.

Hunn admitted that he did not know which prescriptions were legitimate and which were not; he simply printed duplicate labels from another prescription, placed them on the prescription bottles, and dispensed the controlled substances. On the date the victim died, Hunn admitted that he "stocked up the whole family." The investigation showed that on that date, Hunn distributed Vicodin (hydrocodone), Soma, Ambien, and Xanax to the deceased victim. The autopsy report listed the probable cause of death as a mixed drug overdose (carisoprodol and meprobamate). The medical examiner and toxicologists in the case also concluded that the amount of Vicodin (hydrocodone) in the victim's system was toxic/fatal by itself.

The prosecution was part of Project Safe Bakken, a cooperative effort between federal and state prosecutors and federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies in Montana and North Dakota. The investigation was conducted by the DEA Tactical Diversion Squad, which is comprised of law enforcement from DEA, Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, Billings Police Department; also the Sidney Police Department and the Montana Crime Lab.

Updated January 14, 2015