Lewiston man pleads guilty to federal charges for stealing painkillers intended for veterans

Posted March 05, 2014, at 3:45 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A Lewiston man caught taking prescription painkillers intended for veterans waived indictment Wednesday and pleaded guilty to theft and drug charges.

Nathan K. Brown, 24, was caught in July when UPS officials hid a blue dye packet in a package that contained oxycodone, according to the prosecution version of events to which he pleaded guilty.

Brown pleaded guilty to one count each of theft from an interstate shipment and possession of a controlled substance.

He is free on $5,000 unsecured bail.

Brown worked for United Parcel Service in Auburn from March 2013 through July 2013, the court document said. The company handled packages shipped to veterans from the outpatient pharmacy at the Togus Veterans Affairs Medical Center. A pharmacist at the facility in April began receiving complaints from patients that they had not received their medication.

On July 2, federal agents, with the consent of UPS, arranged for a fictitious VA pill shipment to be placed with packages Brown would be unloading that day, according to the court document.

“Nathan Brown took control of the package as he was loading it into a truck, left the loading dock and went into the men’s room,” the prosecution version of events said. “There, he opened the package, removed the pills and began to ingest them. Agents then entered the bathroom and caught Brown in the act, observing that Brown had blue dye on his face and hands.”

In an interview with agents, Brown admitted stealing a total of 536 pills valued at $390. He said that he used some himself and “distributed” pills to other people.

Brown faces up to three years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the theft charge. Brown faces up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000 on the possession charge.

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