Formal charges have been laid against a former Innisfail pharmacist accused of stealing a massive quantity of painkillers from her employer.
Karen Nevett, 34, of Red Deer, faces charges of fraud over $5,000, theft over $5,000 and possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking.
Innisfail RCMP became involved after Shoppers Drugmart store security investigated irregularities at both the Innisfail and Red Deer locations she worked at. The investigation was launched after customers had complained that their drugs had become less effective.
According to police, over an 18-month period she stole about 14,000 Dilaudid pills, a brand name for hydromorphone hydrochloride, which is in the same narcotics class as heroin, methadone and hydrocodone.
Police allege she filled non-existent prescriptions, emptied portions of Dilaudid capsules and returned them to the shelf with 20 to 50 per cent of the contents missing, and made false prescription records.
She was arrested by Innisfail RCMP in February but charges against her were not formally laid until today. Cpl. Jeff Hildebrandt said although the initial reporting was done fairly quickly, the investigation took some time.
“There was quite a bit of video evidence to go through,” said Hildebrandt. “Then presenting a package with all the documentation for the amount of drugs that was involved to the Crown and then getting a response from the Crown after a significant review, it was time consuming.”
“We knew in the first instance we were dealing with some fairly significant charges,” said Hildebrandt. “We had enough information at the time of her arrest to proceed accordingly.
“However, we really needed to give the Crown a fair chance to see all the information before we finalized what the charges were going to be.”
Nevett appeared in Red Deer provincial court today. Her plea was reserved and she will make her next appearance on May 13 in Red Deer provincial court. She was released from custody shortly after her arrest.