Local pharmacist accepts plea bargain | AspenTimes.com

Local pharmacist accepts plea bargain

Aspen Times Staff Report

A long-time local pharmacist accused of stealing pills from his employer, Carl’s Pharmacy, on Monday accepted a plea bargain that could leave him with a clean record after four years.

Pharmacist Dan Kociela, 48, agreed to plead guilty to one count of possession of a controlled substance, a stimulant called Dexedrine. His next court appearance is Nov. 22, when a judge will decide whether to accept the plea bargain or not.

According to court documents, Kociela was arrested last summer on charges he had been stealing Dexedrine tablets from the pharmacy at Carl’s. Dexedrine, known in street parlance as “speed,” is a diet pill that must be prescribed by a doctor.

Kociela reportedly was caught after another pharmacist found a “to-do list” written by Kociela, reminding him to pick up a number of items including Dexedrine, according to the court papers. Subsequent counts of the Dexedrine tablets before and after Kociela’s shifts revealed that as many as 32 of the pills were missing between April and July of this year.

When confronted by his employers, Kociela admitted taking eight of the pills, according to police, but denied taking the rest. He was immediately fired.

Under the plea bargain worked out with the district attorney’s office, Kociela would be placed on probation for four years, surrender his driver’s license and be subject to periodic urinalysis testing. If he were to meet all the conditions of the deal, at the end of four years the conviction would be expunged and the charges would be dismissed.

Aside from ruling on the plea bargain, the judge also will have the option of putting Kociela in jail for up to 90 days as part of the plea agreement, according to Deputy District Attorney Lawson Wills.

Wills said the report of the conviction will be sent to the state agency that oversees pharmacist licensing, and it will be up to that agency to take any professional disciplinary action against Kociela.


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