BALTIMORE, MD—A local pharmacy operator on Thursday pleaded guilty to a federal charge of murder for hire.
David Robinson, age 51, of Baltimore, owned and operated the Frankford Family Pharmacy, located at 5244 Sinclair Lane (21206). On October 10, 2018, Robinson pleaded guilty to a federal drug conspiracy involving the distribution of oxycodone and alprazolam outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. Robinson admitted that he ordered a “hit” on the person he believed had cooperated with law enforcement that led to his indictment on those charges. Robinson’s pharmacist license was suspended on August 7, 2017.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.
“We have zero tolerance for any effort to intimidate or retaliate against witnesses,” said Hur. “Those who attempt to tamper with or retaliate against a federal witness will be brought to justice.”
According to Robinson’s plea agreement, from January 2016 to July 2016, law enforcement used a confidential source, CS-1, to make several controlled purchases of oxycodone and alprazolam from Robinson at his pharmacy. On June 22, 2017, a federal grand jury in Maryland indicted Robinson for a drug conspiracy involving the distribution of oxycodone and alprazolam. Robinson was arrested on June 27, 2017 and was released from custody on June 29, 2017, under the supervision of U.S. Pretrial Services. On October 10, 2018, Robinson pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone and alprazolam and one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and alprazolam. Robinson was continued on conditions of release until his sentencing, scheduled for February 15, 2019.
On October 27, 2018, the Baltimore City’s Citi-Watch camera system captured a drug transaction, which led to the arrest of an individual, CS-2. A search of CS-2’s vehicle resulted in the recovery of two shoeboxes containing a total of 35 stock pharmacy bottles of the prescription medications promethazine and clonidine.
CS-2 had obtained the prescription medications from David Robinson. CS-2 had known Robinson for approximately three years, and had previously purchased oxycodone, Xanax, clonidine, and promethazine from Robinson at the Frankford Family Pharmacy. After the search warrant was executed at Robinson’s pharmacy on June 27, 2017, Robinson began providing CS-2 with case lots of boxes of medications in exchange for cash and no prescription was required. Robinson continued to sell promethazine and clonidine and six months after the raid, Robinson was still ordering pills from his vendors.
As detailed in his plea agreement, following his arrest in 2017, Robinson told CS-2 about an individual that Robinson believed had cooperated with law enforcement and led to his arrest (i.e., CS-1). CS-2 and Robinson had a discussion about CS-1 being killed. After some time, the two agreed to have CS-1 killed. Robinson provided CS-2 with some information about CS-1. CS-2 told Robinson that he/she knew someone that could do a “hit” on CS-1. CS-2 told Robinson that the fee would be $5,000 up front and $5,000 when CS-l was killed.
Robinson admitted that from December 13, 2018 through February 7, 2019, CS-2 made three controlled purchases of drugs from Robinson, at the direction of law enforcement, using cash provided by DEA agents. CS-2 purchased a total of 118 stock pharmacy bottles of clonidine, each containing 100 tablets; and 24 stock pharmacy bottles of 50 mg promethazine tablets, with each bottle containing 100 tablets. Robinson did not request, nor did CS-2 provide, a prescription for any of the drugs.
During a controlled purchase on January 24, 2019, CS-2 and Robinson discussed the murder of CS-1 (which was audio-recorded). During this conversation, they discussed a $5,000 fee that had already been paid to the hitman, and that an associate of the hitman had information about the location of CS-1. The associate wanted an additional $3,000 to be paid to him/her in order to provide CS-1’s location to the hitman. Robinson was upset over this additional fee required to identify the location and accomplish the murder of CS-1 and did not agree to pay the additional fee. On February 4, 2019, CS-2 sent a text message (using his cell phone) to Robinson (at his cell phone) advising that he had provided the additional $3,000 in order to obtain CS-1’s address.
On February 14, 2019, CS-2 called Robinson and told Robinson that the murder was done and that the hitman would want his money. CS-2 then met with Robinson, who provided CS-2 with $2,000. CS-2 put the cash in his pocket and Robinson asked CS-2 for proof that the murder had been completed. CS-2 showed Robinson several fake photos in which it appeared that CS-l had been bound with zip ties, shot several times, and killed. After the meeting, law enforcement arrested Robinson and CS-2.
Robinson and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea, Robinson will be sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, consecutive to any sentence imposed in the drug conspiracy case. U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III has scheduled sentencing for both of Robinson’s cases on March 4, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.