The mayor of Bridgeport, West Virginia was recently indicted on federal charges of dispensing prescription pain medication outside of the scope of his pharmacy practice.
Mayor Mario Blount was charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute Schedule II controlled substances, distributing oxycodone, and failure to report filling prescriptions. In addition to his duties to the city, Mayor Blount works as the chief pharmacist at Best Care Pharmacy, in the Weston location. Authorities stated that they “became aware” of some irregularities in the way Blount was filling prescriptions. They then conducted searches, which led to more investigations as to whether Blount was engaging in illegal activity. These investigations were done in cooperation between the Greater Harrison County Drug Task Force and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
In their 10-month long investigation, they found that over the course of three years, Blount allegedly dispensed as many as 11,000 oxymorphone and oxycodone pills. In addition to Mayor Blount, two other individuals were charged with conspiracy. If Mayor Blount is convicted, he faces a potential sentence of 20 years in prison for conspiracy and distribution, and as many as four years for failure to report a prescription charge. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines will determine the extent of the sentence, based on Mayor Blount’s prior criminal history, if any, and the seriousness of his offense. Although following the Federal Sentencing Guidelines is no longer mandatory, many judges and prosecutors still give the Guidelines weight in their decision-making.
As this blog has noted on many past occasions, West Virginia has a significant problem with prescription pill abuse and drug abuse in general. In a different case, one doctor was charged last July for running a pill mill after three people died in 2010 from overdoses. That case led to the raids on Best Care Pharmacy that led to this one, and officials think that the two cases could be connected.
While it is imperative that the state’s drug problem be addressed, it should not come at the expense of the criminal suspects’ freedom. Every criminal suspect deserves to have an experienced criminal defense attorney representing his or her case. This is especially true in situations where the Federal Sentencing Guidelines play a role. The Guidelines have been widely criticized for their rigidity and for creating sentences that are disproportionate to the crime. As long as they continue to hold weight in West Virginia and the rest of the country, criminal suspects need an attorney who understands them. An attorney might instead be able to work out a plea bargain that is more favorable to the criminal suspect. Should a criminal suspect prefer to go to trial, an experienced attorney will do everything possible to make sure that he or she gets a favorable jury verdict.
The Wolfe Law Firm has been providing legal services for nearly 25 years. Located in Elkins, West Virginia, the firm provides services in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, bankruptcy, and mediation. If you are looking for an experienced West Virginia criminal defense attorney, contact us today.