Local Doctor & 8 Others Face Distribution of Prescription Drug Charges
Eight people appeared in federal court on Friday afternoon in connection with distribution of prescription drug charges. A ninth person, Dr. Robert Rand, was arrested in San Francisco Friday morning.
A local doctor and eight other Reno-area residents have been arrested and charged with "being part of a conspiracy to unlawfully distribute highly addictive prescription drugs."
From U.S. Attorney's Office:
A local doctor and eight other Reno-area residents, including a number of employees of an automobile dealership, have been arrested and charged with being part of a conspiracy to unlawfully distribute highly addictive prescription drugs, including oxycodone, to persons who did not have a medical necessity for them, announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Daniel Neill, and Nevada FBI Special Agent in Charge Laura A. Bucheit.
“Our U.S. Attorney’s Office is working aggressively with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to attack the growing problem of prescription drug abuse,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “We have prioritized unlawful prescription drug distribution cases, and plan to shut down dangerous ‘pill mill’ operations that are contributing to what amounts to, in many instances, a deadly problem.”
Robert Gene Rand, 53, Richard Winston West II, aka Richie West, 40, Omar Ahsan Ahmad, 31, Joshua Ross Green, 34, Clint Mitchell Bloodworth, 40, Kathleen Griffin, 43, Alan Russel Martinez, 59, and Braden Kyle Riley, 40, all of Reno, and Ryan Daniel Smith, 40, of Carson City, are each charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, such as oxycodone and illegal use of a communication facility. Rand and West are also charged with engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise with at least five other persons in which Rand and West occupied positions of management. Rand is also charged with distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death, and West is also charged with three separate counts of distribution of oxycodone.
Dr. Rand was arrested Friday morning in San Francisco, and the eight other defendants were arrested in Reno Thursday. Rand will appear before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the immediate future.
“This investigation targeted a major distribution source of deadly and addictive prescription opioids being diverted to street sales across the region,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Neill. “These arrests clearly demonstrate that DEA and our law enforcement partners are committed to stemming the tide of drugs being diverted to the black market, as well as stopping medical professionals who disregard their ethical obligations and abuse the public’s trust.”
“This investigation demonstrates the FBI’s resolve to aggressively pursue those who engage in the illegal distribution of prescription drugs within our community,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Bucheit. “As a result of our alliance with law enforcement partners in Reno, a significant impact has been made on the illegal drug supply network in the area.”
Defendant Rand is a Nevada-licensed physician who operates Rand Family Care in Reno. Defendant West is the manager of the Jones-West Ford dealership. Defendants Ahmad, Griffin, Martinez, Bloodworth, and Riley are also employees of the dealership, and defendants Green and Smith are former employees of the dealership. According to the criminal complaint, Rand allegedly prescribes narcotics, such as oxycodone, without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of his professional practice. Beginning on about September 30, 2015, and continuing to about April 28, 2016, Rand allegedly issued prescriptions for substantial amounts of oxycodone to his co-defendants, who filled the prescriptions at local pharmacies and then illicitly distributed them. On September 30, 2015, the complaint alleges that Rand issued an unlawful prescription for oxycodone, resulting in the death of an individual.
In addition to the arrests, law enforcement agents executed federal search warrants at six locations, including two residences, two offices, and two vehicles connected to the defendants, and seized evidence related to the unlawful distribution of controlled substances, such as oxycodone.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost two million Americans abused or were dependent on prescription opioids in 2014. Overdose deaths from opioids, including prescription opioids and heroin, have nearly quadrupled since 1999. Overdoses involving opioids killed more than 28,000 people in 2014, more than any year on record, and over one-half of those deaths were from prescription opioids. For information on opioid overdose and how you can manage pain without prescription drugs, go to http://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/index.html.
This case is being investigated by the Safe Streets Task Force in Reno, which includes the DEA, FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, Reno Police Department, and Washoe County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James E. Keller.
From the U.S. Attorney's Office
The investigation continues Friday after authorities arrested multiple people Thursday in a joint operation in Reno. The FBI and DEA raided Jones-West Ford and the home of Richard Winston West, Jr., who was one of the people arrested.
West was booked into the Washoe County Jail, although his charges have not been made public, except that it involves a "federal matter."
The dealership was temporarily closed when the operation happened, around 10 a.m.
One customer of Jones-West Ford says he was buying a truck, when the operation happened. He says agents entered the buildings and had everyone move to the front of the building. Customers and some employees were removed from the property within approximately five minutes, and were not allowed to return until the operation was completed, at about 11:30 am. The U.S. Attorney's Office has not confirmed who was arrested, but witnesses inside the dealership says West, Jr. was led out in handcuffs.
Other agencies involved were Reno Police Department, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, ATF, Homeland Security, Nevada Division of Investigations and REMSA (for safety purposes).
We tried to get a comment from the business but they aren't making any comments so far.
We spoke with the next door neighbor of 38-year-old Richard West, Jr. about his home being raided.
"Actually my daughter called me and asked what was going on. So, I had no idea and said there's cops and FBI and newscasters surrounding our house, so I was a little worried and came home to see how my daughter was doing," says Connie Silva.
Silva says she has never seen a scene like this in her 16 years of living in the area. And she was surprised to hear of West, Jr.'s arrest.
"Just with his wife and kids and I mean, like I said, they're really good neighbors...cause we're hardly...they're very quiet, they're very by themselves and we just say 'hi,' 'bye,' call every once in awhile...they're great neighbors. I've never (had) any problems with them, at all."