An Addis pharmacist was sentenced to nine years in federal prison for trafficking and dispensing stolen HIV medication.
U.S. District Judge Lance Africk sentenced Alvin Watts, III, a 37-year-old Addis resident to nine years in federal prison after a two-day jury trial. Watts, a co-owner of Doc-Your-Dose Pharmacy in Grosse Tete, was convicted of conspiracy to possess, transport and traffic stolen medication.
According to evidence presented at trial, 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 medication and transport it back to his Louisiana pharmacy.
As a result, Watts profited approximately $640,000.00 by dispensing the stolen medication, as opposed to selling legally-obtained drugs.
Watts’ criminal conduct became known as the result of a traffic stop near Chattanooga, Tennessee, in which authorities stopped his couriers for speeding. During the stop, officers discovered a significant quantity of stolen HIV medication in the trunk of their vehicle. The investigation identified Watts’ criminal conduct along with four co-conspirators who were indicted and subsequently pled guilty for their involvement in this scheme and have been sentenced.
During the hearing, Judge Africk highlighted Watts’ greed, extreme depravity in selling stolen HIV medications that were intended for HIV patients in the D.C. area, and the fact that he obstructed justice in attempting to prevent a government witness from testifying.
“Medical professionals like the defendant cannot be allowed to profit by dispensing stolen medication intended for indigent patients,” U.S. Attorney Brandon Fremin said. “The actions of this defendant are a great disservice to the pharmacists and medical professionals in our community who ensure that patients’ well-being is their highest priority. I commend the superb efforts of prosecutors and federal and state local law enforcement partners who played a critical role in investigating and prosecuting this complex and important matter.”