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Prison for US drug disposal firm owner

Man sentenced to four years for selling drugs he should have destroyed or returned to manufacturers

The owner of a US pharmaceutical disposal company based in Northfield, Minneapolis, has been sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to selling some of the drugs he was supposed to destroy or return to the manufacturers.

Mark Andrew Goetz (41) was sentenced on November 18 in the US District Court in Minneapolis. Previously, he had pleaded guilty to selling nearly 350 tablets of Xanax and more than 1,200 Oxycontin pills.

Goetz was owner of the company, Pharmaceutical Returns, and was authorised to collect outdated, recalled or excess prescription drugs by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). These should have been returned to drug companies for credit or destroyed at approved incinerators.

Prosecutors say that instead of incinerating them or returning them to the manufacturer, Goetz profited from them on the black market.

According to a May 2009 press release from Minnesota US Attorney, Frank Magill, in January 2009 the now disbanded Metro Gang Strike Task Force discovered that Goetz was "distributing controlled substances he obtained from DEA registrants to drug customers just prior to or shortly after scheduled destructions of evidence. Officers arranged a controlled purchase on January 10 at Goetz's residence of Xanax. A second controlled purchase of Oxycontin and Xanax was conducted by the DEA and the task force on May 6 in a parking lot of a south Minneapolis apartment complex."

Police stopped Goetz as he was leaving the complex's car park, and seized a small amount of a controlled substance and a laptop computer.

18th November 2009

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