BURLINGTON — The former manager of a Washington County pharmacy pleaded not guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to two felony charges that he diverted opioids from his store for his personal use.
Brian Thomas Badgley, 37, of Waterbury, had his state pharmacy license suspended by the Vermont Pharmacy Board after the drug diversion was detected in September at the CVS drug store in Berlin, court and disciplinary records show.
Badgley subsequently pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court in Barre to two felony counts of prescription fraud in October. He also denied misdemeanor counts of embezzlement, petty larceny and reckless endangerment.
Now federal authorities are interested in picking up the criminal case first investigated by Berlin Police. The Office of Professional Regulation and the Drug Enforcement Administration later conducted probes.
Washington County State’s Attorney Rory Thibault said he is prepared to dismiss the state charges filed last fall to make way for the federal prosecution, but could refile them depending on the outcome of the federal case.
Magistrate Judge Kevin Doyle agreed Wednesday morning to release Badgley on conditions, including that he not be charged with any new state or federal crimes and that he surrender all his firearms and his passport. Doyle noted Badgley had a doctorate degree.
Defense lawyer Rob Backus had asked that Badgley be allowed to keep his weapons because he was a hunter, but Doyle said that would be unwise. The magistrate said he had to consider the possible safety of probation officers when they made home visits to the defendant. Doyle said he was concerned that while there was no known recent substance abuse, there were reports from August
Under questioning from Doyle, Badgley said in open court that he had been treated for narcotic addiction in 2016.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Lasher said there was considerable evidence for the defense to review. He noted there was audio and video evidence and police reports, including proceedings by the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation.
Backus asked for 90 days to review the case and consider pre-trial motions. Doyle set an April 12 deadline.
One federal charge maintains Badgley, between July and August last year, showed a reckless disregard and placed the public in danger of death and bodily injury by breaking the tamper seal on a bottle of hydromorphone hydrochloride solution, removing an unspecified quantity and replacing it with Benadryl and/or distilled water. The indictment said he reattached the tamper seal with clear tape and returned it to the pharmacy inventory where it could be administered to patients.
The second count filed by the federal grand jury charged Badgley with diverting hydromorphone hydrochloride tablets and solution between March and September last year by using fraud, forgery and deception. The indictment said Badgley made false electronic entries into the pharmacy ordering system so Hydromorphone Hydrochloride tablets and solution were delivered to his store.
The second count also noted Badgley entered false pill counts into the pharmacy inventory system to obscure his thefts. The charge said he also used Benadryl and/or distilled water to try to avoid detection when he removed the Hydromorphone Hydrochloride solution from bottles.
Badgley has been free on conditions from the state since his arraignment in October. He faced a maximum sentence of seven years in prison in the state case.
Berlin Police Officer Daniel Withrow reported he received a report Sept. 2 about an employee stealing medication from the CVS on U.S. 302.
The state pharmacy board said a complaint had been filed that Badgley appeared to be impaired while administering a COVID vaccine on Sept. 1. Badgley denied being impaired, records show
Berlin Police reported Badgley admitted to stealing the liquid form of hydromorphone and would later dilute the remaining drug container so nobody would notice the theft, court records show.
Withrow said in court papers this caused sanitation concerns with the remaining liquid narcotic.
The remaining diluted drug also could cause major problems, including not working as well as it needed to, police said. A patient might have to receive more of the diluted narcotic than usual and then could potentially overdose if they were to later receive undiluted narcotic, according to court records.
The Pharmacy Board said in charging papers in the disciplinary case that by diluting the drug, Badgley was putting lives in jeopardy.
Withrow wrote that Badgley reported he initially became addicted after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and undergoing major shoulder surgery, according to court records.