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2:20 pm
Tue July 28, 2009

Illegal Drugs

Lawton, OK – A Lawton pharmacist and member of the State Board of Health is accused of willingly selling precursor drugs to methamphetamine cooks in a Multicounty Grand Jury indictment unsealed today, Attorney General Drew Edmondson said.

Haskell Lee Evans, Jr. faces four felony and three misdemeanor counts in the indictment unsealed in Comanche County District Court. Evans is accused of four felony counts of recklessly selling products used as precursor in manufacture of methamphetamine and three misdemeanor counts of willful failure to report information to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN). Evans owns Haskell's Prescription Shop in Lawton.

According to the indictment, Evans sold precursor drugs with "reckless disregard of his duty to maintain practices which guard against the diversion of pseudoephedrine from its legitimate uses into the manufacture of methamphetamine." The indictment lists multiple instances where Evans distributed the precursor medications without following state law, including one instance where he sold the drugs to a known producer of methamphetamine.

"The grand jury alleges Evans sold precursor products with full knowledge that 60 to 70 percent of these sales were going to meth labs," Edmondson said. "Not only did Evans allegedly sell meth precursors to undercover OBN agents, he also allegedly sold to a known meth cook."

The OBN investigation discovered Evans marked up his pseudoephedrine products more than 600 percent above the standard retail sales price, yet remained the state's top pharmacy for pseudoephedrine sales.

"Law enforcement and public health agencies across this state have been fighting methamphetamine use for years, and we all have a role to play in eradicating this drug," Edmondson said. "Evans' blatant disregard for the law and his responsibilities makes him little more than a drug dealer masquerading as a pharmacist."

Evans, 68, was indicted last week by the grand jury as part of the OBN investigation.

"Our medical professionals have a great responsibility as gate keepers in dealing with prescription drug issues in our state," said OBN Director R. Darrell Weaver. "We have an excellent relationship with our pharmacies who work with a high level of integrity as an intervention agent in our plight. However it is very concerning when we encounter the few who betray the public trust in these areas."

Evans also faces three charges for failing to transmit required information to OBN after filling a prescription for a schedule IV narcotic.

According to OBN, prescription drug abuse is believed to be the second-largest drug problem in the state, with an estimated 87,000 Oklahomans using prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. Evans' failure to submit prescription drug reports to the OBN Prescription Monitoring Program tracking system hampers efforts for medical professionals and law enforcement to combat the problem.

The attorney general called on Evans to resign his seat on the State Board of Health.

"While I fully recognize that Evans is innocent until proven guilty, I believe the information gathered in the course of this investigation severely impedes his ability to perform his duties as a member of the board," Edmondson said. "I call on him to step down immediately."

Edmondson's office administers the Multicounty Grand Jury which is scheduled to reconvene Aug. 17.