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National Insurance Crime Bureau

Registered Nurse Who Stole Fentanyl and Tampered with Patients’ Medicine Sentenced to Two Years in Federal Prison

U.S. Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of Texas, October 27, 2020

TEXARKANA, Texas – A 38-year-old Bowie County man has been sentenced to federal prison for federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox today.

Clifford Russell Harris pleaded guilty on June 16, 2020, to tampering with a consumer product and was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Robert W. Schroeder III on Oct. 22, 2020.

According to information presented in court, Harris, who was a registered nurse at the time, broke into the secure drug storage area at Healthcare Express in Texarkana, Texas, and tampered with vials of fentanyl stored there. Specifically, Harris extracted the fentanyl from the vials and refilled the vials with another liquid. Harris then returned the vials to the drug stock where they were available for administration to patients. Because the vials were labeled as fentanyl but did not contain fentanyl, Harris placed patients in danger of death or bodily injury. Harris admitted that he had acted with reckless disregard of the danger to patients and that his actions manifested an extreme indifference to that risk. In the five months leading to his fentanyl theft, Harris stole 600 vials of morphine and Demerol from Healthcare Express where he was entrusted with the receipt and storage of those controlled substances.

This case was investigated by the Texarkana, Texas, Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan R. Hornok.

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