An Addis man was convicted for his role in organizing a scheme to purchase black market HIV pharmaceutical drugs stolen from a Washington, D.C. Department of Health Pharmacy Warehouse intended for indigent HIV patients.
Alvin Watts, III, a 37-year-old Addis resident, was convicted with Conspiracy to Possess, Transport and Traffic in Embezzled Pre-Retail Medical Products and Stolen Property, Trafficking in Stolen and Embezzled Pre-Retail Medical Products, Transportation of Stolen Property, and Receipt, Possession, Concealment, Storage, and Sale of Stolen Property.
“When criminals use fraudulent means, such as theft, to obtain prescription drugs illegally, they place all U.S. consumers at risk,” said Justin D. Green, Special Agent in Charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations’ Miami Field Office. “We will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who put the public health at risk.”
Watts was a co-owner and pharmacist of Doc-Your-Dose Pharmacy in Grosse Tete.
In 2013, Watts organized a scheme to purchase black market HIV pharmaceutical drugs that had been stolen from the Washington, D.C. Department of Health Pharmacy Warehouse intended for indigent HIV patients in Washington, D.C. Watts sent two of his employees to D.C. on multiple occasions between June and September of 2013 to purchase the stolen medications from various locations including at a local D.C. hotel and fast food chain. Watts directed his employees to return the black market medications to his Louisiana pharmacy, and once there, Watts dispensed the stolen medication to unsuspecting HIV patients. As a result, Watts profited approximately $600,000.00 by dispensing black market medications as opposed to selling legally-obtained medications.
Watts’ criminal conduct became known as the result of a traffic stop near Chattanooga, Tennessee, in which his couriers were stopped for speeding. During the stop, officers discovered a significant quantity of stolen HIV medications in the trunk of their vehicle. The investigation identified Watts’ criminal conduct along with the conduct of four co-conspirators who were indicted and subsequently pled guilty for their involvement in this scheme. All are awaiting sentencing for their part in this conspiracy.
As a result of his convictions, Watts faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for transporting and trafficking in Embezzled Pre-Retail Medical Products and Stolen Property, 15 years for transportation of stolen property, and receipt, possession, concealment, storage, and sale of stolen property, and five years for conspiracy to possess, transport and traffic in embezzled pre-retail medical products and stolen property.
“Professionals like this defendant who violate federal law and think they can hide in plain view are sadly mistaken. Profiting from stolen meds intended for indigent patients is despicable and will not be tolerated by this office. The actions of this defendant are a great disservice to the many honest, ethical and law-abiding pharmacists and medical professionals in our communities. I am extremely proud of the efforts of our prosecutors and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners who played a critical role in investigating and prosecuting this complex and important matter,” United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin said.