Richie West Jr. pleads guilty to one charge of distribution and possession of oxycodone
Richie West Jr. has pleaded guilty to prescription drug conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone on Feb. 3, 2017, according to U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden.
West Jr., the manager of a Reno car dealership, was accused of being a member of a high-profile drug ring in April of 2016.
He could face up to 20 years in prison on the conspiracy charge.
On Friday, West Jr. admitted before Federal Judge Miranda Du to being prescribed oxycodone and that he sold the leftovers pills amounting to 500 30mg pills. West said the painkiller pills were obtained for legitimate reasons due to his chronic back pain.
According to West during Friday's hearing, he paid $100 per visit from Dr. Rand to receive his prescription. West said the visitation charges ended when car service and maintenance were exchanged.
David Houston is representing West and confirms that all 12 charges of the 13 were dropped as part of the plea agreement. Houston also noted that because West entered a plea, "He is subject to being subpoenaed to testify if anyone chose to call him, whether that's the defense or prosecution."
When asked, why the change of heart from his previous plea, Houston said, "The change of heart is because (West) never had an objection to accepting responsibility for what he had done. What (West ) had an objection to was accepting responsibility for things that were not true that he had not done."
"It's really a combination as he told the Judge (Du) today, 'Why are you pleading guilty Mr. West?' 'Because I did it.' That really I think represents his state of mind as far as 'I'd be willing to accept the responsibility for what I've done and I'm doing so now.' Which of course it companies the idea of remorse. To start the progress forward, Mr. West only wanted the opportunity to be held accountable. For that which he had done," said Houston.
“Prescription drug abuse is a major public health and public safety issue. Nevada citizens should be concerned and be aware of its dangerous impact and effects,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “We are fighting collaboratively with our law enforcement partners pursuing dirty doctors and illicit pill mills to ensure that our communities remain safe and that we bring wrongdoers to justice and stem the rising tide of prescription drug abuse.”
Sentencing is set for May 8, 2017. According to Houston, West could get at least five years and ten months (70 months) in prison. Following the sentence term, he is expected to receive a minimum of three years of supervised release.
The trial for the other alleged eight defendants involved is set to start in April.