Woodstock-based pharmacist involved in drug ring given 11-year sentence
A Kitchener man who ran a pharmacy in Woodstock was sentenced Tuesday to 11 years in prison.
Yogesh Patel pleaded guilty to offences including fraud, theft and fentanyl trafficking earlier this year.
Court heard that Patel ran a sophisticated system to obtain fentanyl through the Rexall pharmacy on Springbank Avenue. Creating records for fake prescriptions in Rexall’s computer system, Patel was able to acquire an estimated 3,000 fentanyl patches and 1,500 hydromorphone tablets.
No explanation was ever given for why Patel hatched his scheme. Investigators were unable to find any evidence suggesting that he did it for personal gain, or had any addiction issues.
In delivering his sentence, Justice Matthew Graham said Patel’s profession meant he should have known how dangerous his actions were.
“He must have known he was putting lives at risk,” the judge said.
“His breach of trust is egregious. He had the highest duty to protect the public. Instead, he put the public in serious harm.”
Speaking to reporters after the sentencing, defence lawyer Jim Dean said he was “disappointed, but certainly not surprised” by the sentence.
The Crown had been seeking a sentence of 15 years, while Dean had argued for two to four years, followed by probation.
Dean suggested that part of the reason the sentence came in lower than the Crown’s recommendation was because of the remorse Patel had shown, including by pleading guilty and by standing in court to apologize for his actions.
“His remorse is evident,” Dean said.
With credit for time served, Patel has 10 years and three months remaining on his sentence.