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The 40-year-old director of nursing at a Buffalo long term care center was arrested recently on drug charges that she was selling surplus prescription drugs from her office in the facility.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sources received a tip about the alleged criminal activity involving the nurse and set up a multi-agency task force investigation which also involved New York state troopers and the Lackawanna police. An informant not involved in law enforcement but working undercover for the police allegedly made two buys from the former nursing director right in her office. According to police sources, on Oct. 3, approximately 145 pills containing the narcotic hydrocodone were said to have been purchased, and on Oct. 16, the same individual allegedly bought fentanyl patches.

None of the drugs were thought to have been intended for the long term care residents but were stored in a safe in the woman's office prior to being destroyed. As a result of the charges she faces, the nursing director has been put on administrative leave.

Evidence used in the sting included video and audio surveillance, as well as testimony from the undercover informant. Investigators allege that during the year she held the director of nursing position, she may also have sold other scheduled drugs such as morphine, oxycodone and benzodiazepines.

Arrested at her home, the accused nurse has since been released from police custody, but faces decades in federal prison if convicted of all of the charges.

With the proliferation of illegal drugs in New York state, police agencies have doubled down on their efforts to arrest alleged perpetrators selling prescription drugs on the streets. However, those accused of felony drug distribution charges deserve to have their rights preserved and their day in court to face their accusers. Finding oneself in such a precarious situation is stressful, and the criminal case should be handled by a competent defense attorney who can challenge the chain of evidence procedures and make sure there is no misconduct by overzealous prosecutors.

Source: buffalonews.com, "Nursing supervisor charged with selling prescription drugs" Phil Fairbanks, Oct. 18, 2013

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