Drug theft was an inside job - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Drug theft was an inside job

May 16, 2007

Bainbridge --  Sheriff's investigators uncovered a huge prescription drug ring in Decatur County.

The tip came from employees at the local hospital when they realized over 30,000 pills were unaccounted for.  Hospital pharmacy workers were shocked to learn one of their own was responsible. 

In mid-March, thousands of prescription drugs couldn't be accounted for during inventory. Major Wendell Cofer of the Decatur County Sheriff's Office said,  "An employee had diverted the medication, prior to it being put in the inventory control process."

A two year employee of the hospital pharmacy, Kim Eakin assisted with ordering and inventory of shipments of drugs, and, investigators say, had been making fraudulent orders. "Small quantities of other prescription medication but the vast majority is simply Larocet, hydrocodone, and Xanax," said Cofer.

Eakin confessed to investigators that she would pass the stolen drugs on to her husband, Seth Powell, who was distributing them in Valdosta. "Don't have the exact figure that the hospital's lost yet, but the street value from those tablets is anywhere from $10 to $20, depending on who's selling and who's buying," said Cofer.

The street value of the stolen drugs could bring in a potential $620,000. "We think that we'll be able to trace and determine exactly how many pills were diverted."

Investigators say right now they know of at least four other people are involved in the drug ring. "The sales of the narcotics from them, probably branches out to a multitude of other people, that we don't have identified yet."

Investigators say Memorial Hospital is anxious for the prosecution of everyone involved.

No arrests in the case have been made at this point.  Investigators say they plan to arrest everyone involved by mid-June.  The suspects will then be federally indicted in the Middle District of Georgia.

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