Pharmacist pleads guilty to paying hitman to kill drug case witness

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The former owner of a Baltimore pharmacy pleaded guilty to paying a hitman $5,000 to kill a witness in a drug distribution case against him.

David Robinson, a licensed pharmacist who owned and operated Franklin Family Pharmacy in East Baltimore, pleaded guilty Thursday to federal murder-for-hire charges, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Robinson, 52, who pleaded guilty in October 2018 to illegally dispensing painkillers and anti-anxiety medication, then paid an acquaintance $5,000 to take out a witness in the case while awaiting sentencing, federal prosecutors said.

“Joker’s got to go,” Robinson allegedly told a source regarding the witness he believed cooperated with law enforcement, according to an affidavit.

The drug probe into Robinson began four years ago when a source told authorities that a pharmacist was knowingly doling out fraudulent prescriptions, leading to controlled buys from Robinson between January and July 2016 using blank prescriptions given to the source by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the newspaper reported.

Prosecutors said Robinson then asked the source to kill a witness in his drug case after his arrest, obtaining a photo of the person he wanted dead through a contact at Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration.

The source told authorities he didn’t know anyone who could carry out the hit, but “saw a chance to make some money” from Robinson by claiming to know someone who could do it for $10,000, the newspaper reported.

The source said Robinson agreed to pay half up front and the remaining $5,000 after the slaying – and the first installment was deposited into a bank, which was later used by the source to “pay bills,” federal prosecutors said.

Robinson was told the hit had been carried out just one day before his sentencing in the drug distribution case and that he needed to pay the rest of the hit man’s fee. He then asked for proof, authorities said.

The source showed photos to Robinson that were “mocked up to appear to show” the witness dead, according to court documents cited by the Baltimore Sun.

“This investigation and subsequent arrest is a perfect example of how pharmaceutical cases that involve doctors or pharmacists have the potential to be just as violent as a street gang case,” Special Agent Todd Edwards, a spokesman for the DEA’s Baltimore office, said last year.

Robinson, who was arrested after the meeting, was expected to receive a 51-month prison sentence in the drug case, but will instead serve 10 years behind bars for the murder plot, the Sun reported.

The sentence will run consecutively with his prison term in the drug distribution case, which has yet to be handed down, the newspaper reported.

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