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State Agents Bust Doctor For Homicide Following Pharmaceutical Investigation

Update: Please Note The Correct Charges Filed: PC 187 (a)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

NOTE TO EDITORS: Dr. Wesley Albert was booked this morning on second degree murder for violating Penal Code Section 187(a). Our earlier report of a PC 192(a) involuntary manslaughter charge was incorrect.

RIVERSIDE--Following a ten-month investigation, California Department of Justice special agents today arrested Dr. Wesley Albert, 78, in Lake Elsinore for writing large quantities of prescription drugs which led to an individual's death in Riverside last year.

“Prescription drugs are extremely potent, even lethal,” Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. said “The California Department of Justice will crack down on crooked doctors who sell dangerous narcotics to people without a legitimate medical condition,” Brown added.

The California Department of Justice opened its investigation into Dr. Albert’s medical practice after a former patient was arrested in Encinitas in April 2007 for possessing controlled prescription drugs. Undercover agents discovered that Dr. Albert was running a prescription mill from his room at the Lake Elsinore Casino and Hotel in which he churned out hundreds of prescriptions for dangerous narcotics including Vicodin, Xanax, Soma and Oxycontin.

Dr. Albert routinely prescribed more than 5 times the normal quantity of these drugs, sometimes up to 500 pills per person per month, and pocketed between $50 and $100 cash per prescription.

In November, Jason Morgan, 28, a resident of Riverside, died after Dr. Albert gave him large prescriptions for Soma, also known as Carisoprodol, which is a centrally acting skeletal muscle relaxant prescribed for treatment of acute, musculoskeletal pain. Investigators found Jason Morgan with 30 bottles of narcotics that Dr. Albert had prescribed.

Early this morning, special agents arrested Dr. Albert at his residence at the 18000 block of Applewood Way in Lake Elsinore, California. Agents charged Dr. Albert with second degree murder, Penal Code Section 187(a), for prescribing medication without pathology. He was booked into Riverside County Jail in Murrieta. Bail is set for $2 million.

Dr. Albert is expected to be arraigned on Friday at 1:00 p.m. in the Riverside County Superior Court. The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute the case.

The San Diego Pharmaceutical Narcotic Enforcement Team, often referred to as RxNet, led the investigation which resulted in today’s arrest. RxNet, part of the California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, conducts investigations into forged, altered, and fraudulent prescriptions, and the illegal and illicit diversion of pharmaceutical controlled substances.

Other agencies which assisted during the investigation include the Riverside County District Attorney's Office and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

For more information on the California Attorney General's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement visit: http://ag.ca.gov/bne/

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