BALTIMORE, MD – U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III today sentenced David Robinson, age 51, of Baltimore, Maryland, to 171 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for the federal charges of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and alprazolam and for murder for hire. Robinson, formerly a licensed pharmacist who owned and operated the Frankford Family Pharmacy, located in the 5400 block of Sinclair Lane in Baltimore pleaded guilty on October 10, 2018, to a federal drug conspiracy involving the distribution of oxycodone and alprazolam outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. On December 17, 2020, Robinson pleaded guilty to a federal charge of murder for hire, admitting that he ordered a “hit” on the person he believed had cooperated with law enforcement that led to his indictment on those charges. Robinson’s pharmacist license was suspended on August 7, 2017.
The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; Special Agent in Charge Maureen Dixon, Office of Investigations, Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services; Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department; and Secretary Robert L. Green of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
“Pharmacists who divert pharmaceutical drugs for illegal purposes further the tragic cycle of addiction and the epidemic of opioid overdose deaths,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner. “David Robinson not only betrayed the trust placed in him by diverting drugs in order to line his own pockets, he then attempted to have the person killed whom he believed had reported his abuses. We have zero tolerance for any effort to intimidate or retaliate against witnesses.”
According to Robinson’s plea agreement for the drug distribution conspiracy, a confidential source (CS-1) advised law enforcement that the pharmacist at Frankford Family Pharmacy knowingly filled fraudulent prescriptions for alprazolam and oxycodone at the pharmacy. During the DEA’s investigation, between January and July 2016, the confidential source made a number of controlled purchases from Robinson at the pharmacy, using blank prescriptions provided to the source by DEA. Robinson knew that the prescriptions were fraudulent because he told the confidential source what name to use on the prescriptions and what quantity of oxycodone tablets to write on the prescriptions. Robinson also told the source to include non-controlled medications on the same prescriptions in order to evade law enforcement. Between April 2015 and June 2017, Robinson fraudulently distributed approximately 12,330 units of alprazolam and 10,000 milligrams of oxycodone.
On June 22, 2017, a federal grand jury in Maryland indicted Robinson for a drug conspiracy involving the distribution of oxycodone and alprazolam. Robinson was arrested on June 27, 2017 and was released from custody on June 29, 2017, under the supervision of U.S. Pretrial Services. On October 10, 2018, Robinson pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone and alprazolam and one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and alprazolam. Robinson was allowed to continue on conditions of release until his sentencing, scheduled for February 15, 2019.
DEA investigators also learned that during Robinson’s tenure as a pharmacist working the night shift at a pharmacy in Waldorf, Maryland, Robinson also filled fraudulent prescriptions for oxycodone. Robinson admitted that he wrote prescriptions using the names of prominent athletes provided to him as the purported patients. Between September and December 2015, Robinson admitted that he dispensed at least 85,500 milligrams of oxycodone outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.
On October 27, 2018, Baltimore City’s Citi-Watch camera system captured a drug transaction, which led to the arrest of an individual, CS-2. A search of CS-2’s vehicle resulted in the recovery of two shoeboxes containing a total of 35 stock pharmacy bottles of the prescription medications promethazine and clonidine.
CS-2 had obtained the prescription medications from David Robinson. CS-2 had known Robinson for approximately three years, and had previously purchased oxycodone, Xanax, clonidine, and promethazine from Robinson at the Frankford Family Pharmacy. After the search warrant was executed at Robinson’s pharmacy on June 27, 2017, Robinson began providing CS-2 with boxes of medications in exchange for cash without requiring a prescription. Robinson continued to sell promethazine and clonidine and six months after the raid, Robinson was still ordering pills from his vendors.
As detailed in his plea agreement for the murder for hire, following his arrest in 2017, Robinson told CS-2 about an individual that Robinson believed had cooperated with law enforcement and led to his arrest (i.e., CS-1). CS-2 and Robinson had a discussion about CS-1 being killed. After some time, the two agreed to have CS-1 killed. Robinson provided CS-2 with some information about CS-1. CS-2 told Robinson that he/she knew someone that could do a “hit” on CS-1. CS-2 told Robinson that the fee would be $5,000 up front and $5,000 when CS-l was killed.
Robinson admitted that from December 13, 2018 through February 7, 2019, CS-2 made three controlled purchases of drugs from Robinson, at the direction of law enforcement, using cash provided by DEA agents. CS-2 purchased a total of 118 stock pharmacy bottles of clonidine, each containing 100 tablets; and 24 stock pharmacy bottles of 50 mg promethazine tablets, with each bottle containing 100 tablets. Robinson did not request, nor did CS-2 provide, a prescription for any of the drugs.
During a controlled purchase on January 24, 2019, CS-2 and Robinson discussed the murder of CS-1 (which was audio-recorded). During this conversation, they discussed a $5,000 fee that had already been paid to the hitman, and that an associate of the hitman had information about the location of CS-1. The associate wanted an additional $3,000 to be paid to him/her in order to provide CS-1’s location to the hitman. Robinson was upset over this additional fee required to identify the location and accomplish the murder of CS-1 and did not agree to pay the additional fee. On February 4, 2019, CS-2 sent a text message to Robinson’s cell phone advising that he had provided the additional $3,000 in order to obtain CS-1’s address.
On February 14, 2019, CS-2 called Robinson and told Robinson that the murder was done and that the hitman would want his money. CS-2 then met with Robinson, who provided CS-2 with $2,000. CS-2 put the cash in his pocket and Robinson asked CS-2 for proof that the murder had been completed. CS-2 showed Robinson several fake photos in which it appeared that CS-l had been bound with zip ties, shot several times, and killed. After the meeting, law enforcement arrested Robinson.
Robinson will also forfeit items seized on June 27, 2017 during the execution of search warrants at his residence, the Frankford Family Pharmacy, his vehicle, and a safe deposit box rented by Robinson. These include: $159,862 in cash from Robinson’s home; $46,927 in a briefcase, blank prescriptions, a prescription pad, and a loaded 9mm pistol from Robinson’s car; $60,486 in cash, an AR-15 rifle with a magazine, several boxes of ammunition for the rifle from the pharmacy; and $25,041 in cash, $4,500 in gold coins, and $1,010 in silver coins from the safe deposit box.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the DEA, HHS OIG, the Baltimore Police Department, and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services for their terrific work in the investigation. Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kenneth S. Clark and Samika N. Boyd, who are prosecuting the case.