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Deltaville man gets 20 years in methadone case

by Tom Chillemi

For 13 months, Middlesex Sheriff’s Office investigators worked hard to determine how Allen Haywood, 18, of Deltaville got a deadly dose of methadone that killed him on May 26, 2008.

The investigators’ persistence resulted in Taylor Drew Munson, 22, of Deltaville pleading guilty on August 11 to federal charges of distributing methadone. Under the plea agreement, Munson has agreed to be sentenced to 20 years, the maximum punishment, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Richmond.

Methadone is used to treat heroin addiction and its effects are similar. It can be deadly.

Abuse of prescriptions
Captain M.E. Sampson of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has been a drug investigator for 15 years. Sampson has seen the horror of drugs and lives ruined or cut short.

Following are Capt. Sampson’s thoughts on the Taylor Drew Munson methadone conviction and last year’s overdose death of 18-year-old Allen Haywood of Deltaville.

“This is a tragic story through which many lessons can and should be learned. The abuse of prescription drugs is a deadly problem even here in our small community,” said Capt. Sampson.

“Prescription drugs are controlled by the federal government, but it seems that once they get into our homes, pocketbooks and medicine cabinets some in the community fail to see the dangers of what could happen when taking these drugs outside of the manner in which they were prescribed,” continued Capt. Sampson.

“If you are reading this article, ask yourself a few questions. How did this happen? Could this happen to another young person in our community if something doesn’t change? Could it happen with your prescribed medications in your home, automobile, purse, or medicine cabinet, and who has access to these dangerous narcotics?”

In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Munson admitted that from approximately April 2008 through March 3, 2009 he illegally distributed to others liquid methadone that had been prescribed for his own use to treat heroin addiction. 

Munson also admitted that on May 24, 2008 he distributed 60 mg. of liquid methadone to Haywood, who overdosed and died as a result of methadone toxicity. 

Munson further admitted to distributing liquid methadone on five separate occasions following Haywood’s death during an undercover operation by the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office.

“We used every resource available to solve this case,” said Captain M.E. Sampson of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, who worked with Middlesex investigator C.B. Sibley. Inv. Sibley contacted a federal prosecutor who called in DEA agents to assist the Middlesex investigators, who remained the lead investigators.

Munson had been approved by the methadone clinic to take home dosage for six days, which was 12 bottles of liquid methadone.

Investigators and Middlesex deputies seized eight empty methadone dosage bottles on February 6, 2009 when they executed a search warrant of Munson’s apartment in Deltaville, according to the statement of facts to which Munson agreed.

Munson “should have had no more than six empty bottles, and should have had seven full bottles to ensure proper dosing for the remaining three days before his next scheduled methadone clinic visit on February 10, 2009,” according to the statement of facts.

On February 10, Munson “reported to the methadone clinic, turned in five empty bottles, and reported that 8 bottles had been thrown away. Actually, those 8 bottles had been seized by investigators in their undercover operation.

Munson was arrested on March 13, 2009 at his Deltaville residence, with assistance of DEA agents. He is scheduled to be sentenced on October 30.

This case was investigated by the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, the DEA’s Norfolk Office, the DEA’s Richmond Office Diversion Group, and the Tri-Rivers Drug Task Force.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Olivia N. Hawkins is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

The announcement of Munson’s plea was made after it was accepted by U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis W. Dohnal. Making the announcement were Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Michael T. Hurd, Middlesex Commonwealth’s Attorney; Guy L. Abbott, Middlesex Sheriff; and James R. Gregorius, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration at the Richmond District.

A copy of the press release on Munson’s plea can be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.

Prevention

Capt. Sampson said certain prescription medicines can be deadly. “Taking prescription medicine, with other drugs or alcohol, makes them very dangerous,” he said.

Parents and patients who are prescribed medicines, especially pain medication, should keep them in a secure place, he added. “These are drugs that can kill.” (See related story above).

posted 08.20.2009

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