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Press Release

Medical Doctor Pleads Guilty To Unlawful Distribution Of Oxycodone

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

SAN FRANCISCO –Christopher Owens pleaded guilty in federal court in San Francisco today to unlawfully prescribing oxycodone hydrochloride without a medical purpose, announced Acting United States Attorney Alex G. Tse and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Special Agent in Charge Jerry Miller.  The plea was accepted by the Honorable William Alsup, U.S. District Judge.

According to his open plea application, Owens, 50, of Indianapolis, Ind., was a medical doctor when he prescribed oxycodone hydrochloride, a Schedule II controlled substance, to an individual.  Owens acknowledged he prescribed the drugs without a legitimate medical need and outside of the course of medical practice.  On July 11, 2017, a federal grand jury indicted Owens charging him with 36 counts of distributing oxycodone without a medical need, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C).  Owens pleaded guilty to Count 36 of the indictment in open court today, but the court may consider evidence relating to Counts 1 through 35 at sentencing.

Judge Alsup scheduled Owens’s sentencing hearing for July 17, 2018, at 2:00 pm.  The maximum statutory penalty for the violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C) is 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000 plus restitution, if appropriate.  However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheila A.G. Armbrust is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Linda Love.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the DEA with assistance from the University of California San Francisco Police Department. 

Updated March 20, 2018

Prescription Drugs