February 03, 2017
Contact: SA Timothy Massino
Phone Number: (213) 621-6700
Former Ford Dealership Manager Pleads Guilty To Prescription Drug Distribution Charges
RENO, Nev. - Richard Winston West II, aka Richie West, former manager of the Jones-West Ford dealership in Reno, pleaded guilty today to prescription drug conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone. Special Agent in Charge Steve Comer of the DEA’s Los Angeles field division, U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden of the District of Nevada, and Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse of the FBI’s Las Vegas field office jointly announced the plea. At the time of sentencing, West faces up to 20 years in prison for his plea of guilty to the conspiracy charge. Sentencing is set for May 8, 2017.
“While the immediate impact on the Reno community is profound, sadly this case is representative of the broader national threat we face in prescription opioid misuse and addiction,” said Comer. “Torn communities, broken homes and lost lives demonstrate vividly the fight we are engaged in, and DEA will continue to combat these horrors by identifying, investigating and arresting those responsible for the illicit distribution of controlled pharmaceutical drugs.”
“Prescription drug abuse is a major public health and public safety issue. Nevada citizens should be concerned and be aware of its dangerous impact and effects,” said Bogden. “We are fighting collaboratively with our law enforcement partners pursuing dirty doctors and illicit pill mills to ensure that our communities remain safe and that we bring wrongdoers to justice and stem the rising tide of prescription drug abuse.”
“The successful investigation of this case is through the extraordinary and dedicated work by the FBI and our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners,” said Rouse. “This case shows the seriousness the FBI places on the upward trend of opioid addiction supported by the unscrupulous acts of the very people who should be looking out for their patients’ best interests. This is not the end of this problem, but the community should know that the FBI will be steadfast in our resolve to stem the tide in Nevada,”
West, 40, was one of nine defendants charged on May 11, 2016, with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, including oxycodone. According to admissions made in the plea agreement, beginning in November 2012 and continuing to April 2016, West conspired with co-defendant Dr. Robert Gene Rand, a Nevada physician who operated Rand Family Care in Reno, and others to illegally distribute and possess with intent to distribute prescription controlled substances, including oxycodone. At relevant times of the conspiracy, West obtained oxycodone prescriptions from Rand not for a legitimate medical purpose and ultimately distributed at least 500 oxycodone pills in 30 milligram dosages to others.
In addition, West arranged the distribution of oxycodone via text messages to co-defendants, each of whom were at one time or another employees of the vehicle dealership. West referred several of the co-defendants to Rand to obtain prescriptions for painkillers, some of which were prescribed and obtained for neither a legitimate medical purpose nor in the usual course of medical practice. At the time of West’s arrest, he possessed a Sig Sauer pistol in furtherance of the conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.
Co-defendants Rand, 53, Omar Ahsan Ahmad, 31, Joshua Ross Green, 34, Clint Mitchell Bloodworth, 40, Kathleen Griffin, 43, Alan Russel Martinez, 59, and Braden Kyle Riley, 40, all of Reno, and Ryan Daniel Smith, 40, of Carson City, were each charged in the same conspiracy. Rand is also charged with one count of distribution of oxycodone resulting in death and one count of distribution of fentanyl. Jury trial is set for April 25, 2017, before U.S. District Judge Miranda M. Du.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and (CDC), almost two million Americans abused or were dependent on prescription opioids in 2014. Every day, more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids. Overdoses involving opioids killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, more than any year on record, and over one-half of those deaths were from prescription opioids. For information on opioid overdose and how you can manage pain without prescription drugs, go to http://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/index.html.
The case is being investigated by the Northern Nevada Unified Drug and Gang Enforcement Task Force, which includes the DEA, FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, ICE-HSI, ATF, Reno Police Department, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Carson City Sheriff’s Office, Susanville, California Police Department, Nevada Department of Corrections, Nevada Gaming Control, Nevada Department of Public Safety, Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, and the State of Nevada Division of Welfare, Office of Investigations and Recovery.
The case is being by prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys James Keller, Sue Fahami, and Shannon Bryant.