A jury returned a guilty verdict in the first criminal trial of a drug distributor on federal charges of drug trafficking and fraud. Jurors deliberated for 11 hours before finding Laurence Doud, 78, guilty of drug trafficking. The jury found that more than 400 grams of fentanyl was in play, reports Courthouse News Service. Defense attorney Robert Gottlieb is preparing an appeal, saying, “This verdict is a monumental travesty of justice. This battle has just begun.”
The case hinged on whether Doud committed crimes in directing employees to keep shipping opioids like oxycodone and fentanyl to pharmacies that placed suspicious orders, signaling they were diverting the painkillers from the legitimate health system. Another issue was whether he defrauded the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration by flouting his own in-house compliance rules. Prosecutors explained that wholesalers like Doud’s company, Rochester Drug Cooperative, are supposed to report suspicious orders to the DEA for further investigation. Red flags include dispensing higher than normal amounts, proportions or doses of opioids, or reporting more than 10 percent of customers paying in cash. Emails showed that Rochester's practice with Doud at the helm was to “work with” customers on compliance issues, rather than report them.