By Stephanie Sledge
The U.S. Prosecutor’s Office of the Eastern District of Texas (EDTX) has always been known for their special investigative skills of uncovering major drug lords. In fact –they have been one of the leading U.S. Attorney’s office in the nation to carry out President Trump’s “Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse” focusing their resources on the illegal prescribing and dispensing Opioid drugs by pharmacies and doctors. Their strategies focused on cracking down on the domestic and international drug supply chains.
In 2018, Joe Brown, the U.S. attorney for EDTX, set an example of outstanding investigative work when they extradited defendants out of Colombia for major drug related crimes. In 2019, Brown’s office ranked fourth in the nation in the number of experienced and sophisticated indicted organized crime cases pursuant to the Justice Department’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) program. This was until they began investigating the shady Opioid practices of Walmart.
After a two year investigation, in the fall of 2018, federal prosecutors were prepared to present “highly damaging evidence” in Walmart’s Opioid dispensing practices and their deep involvement in being an Opioid pill-mill pipeline. However, Trump’s top appointees at the DOJ instantly suppressed the evidence and killed the case, leaving Walmart to play the “victim role” and get away with continuing their dirty pipeline between their pharmacies and the nation’s drug-dealing pill-mill murdering doctors.
But, why would they want to suppress the discovery of Walmart as one of the major players in illegal dispensing of the Opioid drug by their pharmacies across the nation? After all, the exponential increase in Opioid overdoses in the nation was the major reason for Trump’s Opioid Initiative.
It was discovered between 2014-2017, that over 1.3 Million doses were illegally dispensed by Walmart pharmacists from just one “pill-mill” doctor alone. After a two year investigation, the prosecution team, led by Joe Brown and Heather Rattan, who focused her career in prosecuting members of the drug cartel, went to Washington D.C. to try to save their case.
First, they went to the DEA’s headquarters and met with acting administrator, Uttam Dhillon and laid out their evidence against Walmart and the murders of many overdosed customers in Texas as a result. They presented evidence and explained they began getting pleas for help from Walmart pharmacists who were highly concerned about having to participate in filling RX’s from known national pill-mill doctors. These pharmacists also pleaded for guidance from Walmart’s Corporate Office and tried to reach out to others. They did not want to dispense these Opioids knowing there was illegal dealing going on, as well as putting customers at risk. These cries for help began surfacing from all over the nation and investigators obtained records showing there were pharmacists from Maine, NC, Kansas, Washington, and other states that were being forced to be a part of the Walmart Opioid pipeline of illegal dispensing; meanwhile, received no help their own Walmart employer.
According to ProPublica,
“One Walmart employee warned about a Florida doctor who had a “list of patients from Kentucky that have been visiting pharmacies in all of central Wisconsin recently. That doctor had sent patients to Walmarts in more than 30 other states.”
Walmart did not take action to stop the flow of illegal dispensing of Opioids.
“In response to these alarms, Walmart compliance officials did not take corporate-wide action to halt the flow of opioids. Instead, they repeatedly admonished pharmacists that they could not cut off any doctor entirely. They could only evaluate each prescription on an individual basis. And they went further. An opioid compliance manager told an executive in an email, gathered during the inquiry and viewed by ProPublica, that Walmart’s focus should be on “driving sales.”
“After they finished their presentation, Dhillon sat back in his chair and exclaimed, “Jesus Christ,” according to five people familiar with the investigation. “Why aren’t we talking about this as a criminal case?”
Seven months earlier, prosecutor Rattan had sent an official notification that she intended to indict the corporation for violating the Controlled Substance Act. With support from Brown, they moved forward on their investigation, gathering evidence that would justify the next step of accountability. However, they faced the major obstacle of Walmart being a Fortune 500 company who employs over 2 million people and deals in over $500 Billion in annual revenue. But, before the Texas office could file their case, the DOJ intervened and was ordered to stand down. Trump officials informed Walmart that the DOJ would not prosecute the company on Aug. 31, 2018. This can be collaborated according to this letter from Walmart’s lawyer that lays out the timeline of the case. Still, the TX Prosecutors continued to try and find other avenues to move the case forward.
Surprisingly, seven years earlier, Walmart had agreed to a settlement with the DEA in which it had promised to improve and correct its dispensing practices and controls over the abuse of opioid pill-mill prescriptions. This is an obvious indication that Walmart had already been investigated previously in regards to allowing the Opioid pipeline practices.
Now with DEA’s Dhillon aboard, they presented their evidence to the DOJ, with the hope that the then-deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein would come aboard the investigation. They explained the same evidence and added that Walmart was a Repeated Offender of the Control Substance Act.
“Dispensing opioids without a legitimate medical purpose is legally akin to dealing heroin. Criminal law says if a person or entity is willfully blind or deliberately ignorant, they are as liable as if they had acted intentionally. Once Walmart’s headquarters knew its pharmacists were raising alarms about suspicious prescriptions, but the compliance department continued to allow — even push — them to fill them, well, that made the company guilty, the Texas prosecutors contended. This was not a question of a few rogue employees, Rattan explained. Walmart had a national problem. Worse, the prosecutors contended, the company was a repeat offender.”
This evidence justifies an path to criminal prosecution. Brown explained to Rosenstein, “We have to act” and DEA’s Dhillon added that “a fine would not be a sufficient deterrent since Walmart has more money than it knows what to do with.”
Rosenstein responded, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that, we are all capitalists here.”
The prosecuting team then claimed, “they weren’t pursuing Walmart because it was profitable but because, in their view, the company had put its customers at deadly risk.”
Rosenstein then left the room and the hope to revive the criminal case against Walmart had failed.
After the failed attempt to get Rosenstein aboard to support prosecuting the Walmart pill-mill corporation, they began focusing their investigation towards prosecuting individual employees including a mid-level manager. However, Trump officials had blocked that outlet as well. The Trump officials blocked every angle of holding Walmart accountable for allowing pill-mill drug dealing to take place nationwide. The Trump appointees at the DOJ continued to side with Walmart.
Following the attempts by the Texas Office to hold Walmart accountable for the deaths of many people across the nation, they instead played the Victim Card… even though Walmart never fully cooperated, Walmart lawyers went to Washington and complained about the Texas prosecutors, “accusing them of seeking to “embarrass” the company while using the threat of criminal charges to extort a larger civil fine. Criminal and civil investigations can run in parallel, but it’s an ethical violation for prosecutors to use the threat of criminal penalties to generate a higher civil settlement.”
U.S. Attorney Brown offered up a response by saying,
“Drug Enforcement Agency investigations of multiple opioid overdose deaths in the Eastern District of Texas resulted in our office opening parallel civil and criminal investigations of Walmart’s pharmacy practices. These investigations have been handled appropriately, and according to Department of Justice policy.
“Walmart chooses now to attack the investigators, a tried and true method to avoid oversight. We are confident that once all of the facts in this matter are public the hollowness of this criticism will be apparent. It is not the goal of our office to embarrass Walmart. Walmart’s behavior in dispensing opioid medication in the middle of a public health crisis should embarrass Walmart.”
Walmart’s ability to go over the heads of the Texas office left the U.S. attorney’s team shocked and frustrated and the lead civil prosecutor, Joshua Russ, on the case resigned in protest on Oct. 25, 2019. In his resignation letter, a copy of which (with Walmart’s name blacked out) can be found here and verified here…
“Corporations cannot poison Americans with impunity. Good sense dictates stern and swift action when Americans die.”
This was covered up when Trump announced the CoronaVirus Public-Private Partnerships in “combating the CoronaVirus. But in reality, look who gets to make billions of the Corona-hoax.
Trump continues to tell the public they are full scale ahead in confronting the nation’s Opioid crisis even though his own DOJ refused to hold Walmart accountable for their involvement in drug pill-mill dispensing resulting in nationwide deaths.
Trump says, “A key element was a public-private partnership with several companies, including Walmart, to implement measures such as opioid addiction education initiatives. “Together we are going to end the scourge of drug addiction in America.”
Then suddenly, America watched as Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon appeared in the White House’s Rose Garden to pledge the company’s help in combating the Coronavirus.
The same company where previous Vice-Chairman Tom Coughlin, was successfully prosecuted for a major high rolling embezzlement scheme. Shockingly, other companies including CVS, Walgreens, and Target were also mentioned in the investigation as being Opioid “pill mill” dispensaries for the same drug dealing doctors. Just how much have they made on these illegal prescriptions and why did the Trump administration choose these very same corporations to be the leading public-private partnership companies to be in charge of the alleged Coronvirus pandemic?
Then, on May 26, 2020, following the Coronavirus public-private relationship announcement, The Eastern District of Texas (EDTX) Attorney General Joe Brown submitted his resignation.
Knowing the EDTX Attorney’s General had an abundance amount of evidence to prosecute Walmart Corporation for being a leader in allowing Opioid drug dealing to take place under their command through illegal pill dispensing, Trump instead, brought them aboard to be a part of the Coronavirus take-down of America. Were they compromised? Did they take a secret deal? What is the trade-off? Was Walmart told they would participate in the Coronahoax or they will be prosecuted? If they play along then all evidence disappears? Is this why Walgreens, CVS, Target were also brought into this Coronahoax? Was it because they too were compromised?
You can witness for yourself the happy display of Trump welcoming Opioid dealing Walmart CEO Doug McMillon into the Coronavirus hoax to make billions off the scam.
Donald Trump announces Walmart’s role in the Coronavirus. (Starts at 14:43)
Stephanie is a Citizen Investigative Journalist and founding editor of THE GOVERNMENT RAG. The Government Rag is an educational alternative news site started in 2009. Stephanie trades in Truth, Freedom, and Transparency. She is committed to educating the public on the real issues that Americans face today.