Christopher Watson, 43, a pharmacist in Perryville, Arkansas, was arrested in January, 2015 as part of “Operation Pilluted”, a four-state organized attack on health care providers. Watson was charged with illegal distribution of a controlled substance. The officials in charge of the arrest were U.S. Attorney Chrisopher R. Thyer and Assistant Special Agent for the DEA David Downing.
In order to badmouth the pharmacist to the public in the media, the published government propaganda statement said things like “Arrests such as [this] are never taken lightly by this office.” “While we recognize the impact this will have on people who have legitimate prescriptions, it was nonetheless necessary to stop the flow of prescription medications to persons who obtained them without a valid prescription. When a pharmacist knowingly fills a falsified prescription,…it is imperative that we take action to ensure that controlled medications are not putting lives at risk.”
Downing got his claim to fame by saying “It is disheartening when trusted professionals like your local pharmacist are engaged in the diversion of controlled substances,” “The arrest of Christopher Watson and the issuance of an Immediate Suspension Order for the Perry County Food and Drug store is the result of DEA’s continued commitment to hold accountable those who participate in illegally dispensing controlled substances in our communities.”
So they got their alleged charges out in the public as if they are fact. In fact, people will read that and assume it is fact.
According to the DEA, which doesn’t mind breaking the law to convict an innocent person, on November 7, 2014 agents fabricated a prescription for Hydrocodone and Alprazolam (Xanax) tablets. An undercover DEA agent presented a fabricated prescription to Mr. Watson at the Perry County Food and Drug store pharmacy. Mr. Watson reviewed the prescription and allegedly acknowledged that it was a forged prescription by informing the undercover agent to “work on” the official DEA registration number, and giving him specific instructions of how to make the prescription look like a valid prescription. Mr. Watson filled the fabricated prescription with (120) Hydrocodone tablets and (60) Alprazolam (Xanax) tablets.
Now first off, what was stated above is impossible. You can’t put two different controlled substances on the same prescription. So they can’t even get their probably fabricated story right. But with the law completely on the side of the government, the rest fell like a stack of bricks. An Immediate Suspension Order of the DEA Registration was issued to the Perry County Food and Drug store on the grounds that the pharmacy constitutes an imminent danger to public health and safety. As a result of this Order, the Perry County Food and Drug store was prohibited from possessing and/or dispensing controlled substances.
In January 2014, “Operation Pilluted”, led by the DEA New Orleans Field Division was launched in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to target medical practitioners, pharmacists, and other DEA Registrants. Nearly 1,000 law enforcement officers across four states took part in the operation. In Arkansas alone, 140 individuals have been charged with prescription drug crimes, including 4 doctors, 4 nurses, and 5 pharmacists.
“The abuse of prescription pills is perhaps the greatest drug problem Arkansas currently faces,” U.S. Attorney Thyer said. However, I’m sure he knows that the techniques being used will not dampen the drug problem, but worsen it. But that’s not a concern to the government. Follow the money. To show how far the money goes in these attacks on medical professionals, the following agencies played a part in this investigation: the DEA, Little Rock Tactical Diversion Squad composed of officers from the Conway Police Department, Beebe Police Department, Little Rock Police Department, Pine Bluff Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Benton Police Department. Also involved were the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), United States Secret Service, United States Marshals Service, Arkansas State Police, and the Perry County Sheriff’s Office.
Mr. Watson was indicted on 2 counts in February, 2015 and then additional counts were added on May 6, 2015, along with 27 other people. Alleged evidence supposedly showed that Mr. Watson sold tens of thousands of hydrocodone pills and other pharmaceuticals after hours and forged prescriptions to account for the missing pills, as well as filled fraudulent prescriptions presented by pharmacy customers. He was also charged with a scheme to commit insurance fraud by falsely billing Medicare Part D for patients’ claims.
Straight from the horse’s mouth, DEA Agent Downing stated “Although prescription medication in the right hands, at the right time and in the right place is safe, the reality is they are deadly to those who abuse the drug,” Exactly. Opiates prescribed by legitimate doctors to legitimate patients for legitimate pain is safe. But the money is in attacking doctors, so they now turn legitimate prescribing into charges by adulterating the Controlled Substance Act exemption for doctors.
Within a week of his arrest, Mr. Watson asked to undergo inpatient treatment for substance abuse in lieu of remaining in jail.
UPDATE: Dec 6, 2017
On October 5, 2016, Mr Watson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to dispense hydrocodone without an effective prescription, healthcare fraud, and structuring bank account cash deposits to avoid bank reporting requirements. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.