Lawyer: West Back in Washoe County Jail, After Hospitalization - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Lawyer: West Back in Washoe County Jail, After Hospitalization

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The lawyer for alleged prescription drug ring suspect Richie West says his client is back in Washoe County Jail, after an emergency hearing was held Friday on whether West should have been released because of his medical condition.

Judge William G. Cobb made the decision on Friday afternoon. 

The jail's doctor said West was not feeling well on Monday, and said that was likely from dehydration.

Houston says West complained of back and hip pain and that his medications weren't helping, so, Dr. Mark Hahn prescribed him two doses of methadone - 40 milligrams each. One doctor testified that he would only prescribe 2.5 milligrams, while another recommended 30. 

Early Tuesday morning, West was found nearly unresponsive, likely because of a combination of prescription drugs. 

Houston previously said West told him a doctor at the jail administered methadone to West four times, which caused him to be temporarily hospitalized at Saint Mary's Medical Regional Center and treated with narcan - a drug used to treat overdoses, despite the actual court document identified the drug as ‘norco.’

Houston had also previously argued that the jail doesn't have the expertise to treat West's chronic back pain. Houston says West has a unique situation because of a degenerated spine that's required 10 surgeries. 

West has been on prescription medications for 19 years.

Cobb's decision gives the jail another chance to work with an outside doctor to keep him healthy. 

"I understand why they want to give the jail this proverbial one last chance to the jail, but if it was my relative that were put into the hospital by an overdose, administered at that jail, I don't think I would want my relative giving someone one last chance."

West has already been ruled by two judges to be a flight risk and a danger to the community - and that was upheld at Friday's hearing.

West was also diagnosed with 16 different health issues including pneumonia. His attorney says his condition has only worsened in the last month.

On Friday, Houston told reporters outside the courthouse, "since he's (West) gone to jail, he's now stooped over. He can't raise his head up. He can't look you in the eye without twisting his neck. So, saying that his condition is being well-managed would defy the obvious."

Dr. John DiMuro is a private physician that will be in control of managing West's pain, working with Dr. Mark Hahn at the Washoe County Jail. DiMuro argued that the jail cannot adequately treat West's medical condition because it so unique, but Hahn says the jail infirmary is suited to handle it. 

Regardless, Houston says he is pleased that the judge recognizes the need for better care.

West, Dr. Robert Rand, Omar Ahmad, Braden Riley, Ryan Smith, Alan Martinez, Kathleen Griffin, Clint Bloodworth and Joshua Green have already pleaded not guilty to charges against them. Their trials are all scheduled to start July 19th. 

If convicted, each defendant faces up to 20 years in prison on the conspiracy charge. Rand faces three total counts, that could carry a minimum mandatory 20 years in prison on the distribution count resulting in death. West faces a total of 12 counts, that could carry up to 20 years in prison on each of the other drug counts, a consecutive mandatory minimum five years in prison as to the first firearm count, and a consecutive mandatory minimum 25 years in prison as to the second firearm count.

The indictment states that beginning on about Nov. 13, 2012, 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 illicitly distributed them. Then the indictment states that on September 30, 2015, Rand allegedly issued an unlawful prescription for oxycodone, resulting in the death of 33-year-old Michael Yenick.

Everyone but Rand was arrested on April 28th after the DEA and FBI raided the Jones-West Ford dealership and Richie West’s south Reno home in connection with the alleged drug ring. Rand was arrested one day later in San Francisco.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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