Grocery Store Pharmacists Help Put St. Louis Man in Prison

ST. LOUIS – Derek J. Petty of St. Louis was sentenced today to a term of 91 months in federal prison.

Petty was convicted by a jury in April of one count of conspiracy to obtain a controlled substance by fraud. The evidence presented at trial proved that Petty’s co-conspirator, Sierra Price, worked at Delmar Primary Care Associates, a small medical practice located in St. Louis. Price wrote and signed more than 10 prescriptions for oxycodone in Petty’s name between April 2018 and December 2018. None of the prescriptions had been authorized by the doctor. The scheme continued unabated because Price, as an employee of Delmar Primary Care Associates, was able to intercept telephone calls from pharmacists at Schnucks, a local grocery store chain, attempting to verify the prescriptions. Before they were caught, Petty and Price obtained over 1,500 oxycodone pills unlawfully.

At the time of the conspiracy, Petty was on supervised release for 2016 convictions for conspiracy to distribute heroin, distribution of heroin, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and felon in possession of a firearm. As part of his guilty plea in the 2016 case, Petty admitted to selling heroin to an undercover police officer, and to selling a dozen firearms, five of which were stolen, to an undercover ATF agent. 

Price, who testified against Petty at trial and who had no previous criminal history, admitted her role in the conspiracy and was sentenced to a term of probation. 

“We are grateful for the skilled professionals at Schnucks, who identified these prescriptions as potentially fraudulent and made every effort to verify their authenticity,” said U.S. Attorney Sayler Fleming, commending the work of the Drug Enforcement Administration Diversion Group and Schnucks’ pharmacists. “Had these pharmacists not continued to question the legitimacy of these prescriptions, this scheme could well have continued undetected for many months.”           

DEA investigated this case.