Houston Pharmacist Convicted for Unlawfully Dispense of Over 100,000 Opioid Pills

A federal jury in Houston has convicted a Texas pharmacist for her role in a pill-mill pharmacy that unlawfully dispensed over 100,000 opioid pills in exchange for cash.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, from January 2014 to January 2018, Deanna Winfield-Gates, 54, Houston, was a relief pharmacist at Health Fit Pharmacy (Health Fit), a cash-only, pill-mill pharmacy. Health Fit dispensed controlled substances to drug traffickers in exchange for hundreds of dollars, often based on prescriptions that were fraudulent and issued in the names of physicians whose identities were stolen. Winfield-Gates filled large volumes of cookie-cutter prescriptions for the opioids hydrocodone 10-325mg and oxycodone 30mg and for carisoprodol, alprazolam and promethazine with codeine, often in combination, knowing these controlled substances were likely to be diverted or abused. 

The jury convicted Winfield-Gates yesterday of one count of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute and dispense controlled substances. She is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 11, 2024. At that time, she faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Winfield-Gates was the last-remaining defendant charged in this case. Three others previously pleaded guilty to the conspiracy. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation.