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Pharmacist facing 11 new charges

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

WYTHE COUNTY – Eleven new charges have been filed against a Dublin pharmacist arrested in Wythe County last month, bringing the total number of charges he faces to 21. Wythe County Sheriff Doug King said Friday the new charges all stem from a search warrant executed at 51-year-old Russell Stuart Gates’ residence in that county during the month of December. Ten of the charges involve possession of controlled substances and one charge is for the alleged possession of a firearm while in possession of controlled substances. According to records on file with the Virginia Department of Health Professions, the Virginia Board of Pharmacy, in August 1992, ordered Gates to undergo treatment for chemical dependency and placed him on probation for three years. He was working at a pharmacy in Virginia Beach at that time. In 1996, the board reprimanded Gates for mislabeling and dispensing to a customer a lower dosage of the blood-thinner Coumadin than was prescribed. VDHP records, updated Jan. 4, show Gates’ license expired Dec. 31. However, it also indicates the license status to be “current.” Some of the drugs named in the new charges filed against Gates include Fentanyl, Percocet, Methylin, morphine, codeine, Adderall, Concerta and methadone. A Wythe County judge recently refused to set a bond for Gates, so he remains incarcerated at New River Valley Regional Jail. Gates was head pharmacist at Dublin Pharmacy when he was arrested Dec. 9 following a wreck on Interstate 77 in Wythe County. Sheriff King said drugs and weapons were found inside a vehicle Gates was driving at the time of the wreck and that lead authorities to investigate further. He said Friday the investigation is continuing and additional charges are expected. Gates also is charged with a first offense of DWI (driving while under the influence of drugs), three counts of possession of controlled substances, carrying a concealed .38-caliber revolver, possession of a gun while in possession of a Schedule I or II drug, unauthorized distribution of controlled drug paraphernalia, operate an uninsured motor vehicle, reckless driving and failure to carry a driver’s license. Gates was traveling northbound in a 2005 Pontiac around 6 a.m. Dec. 9 when he lost control at mile marker 29.5 and crashed, King said. No one was with Gates at the time. According to King, a witness reported that Gates was driving “erratically” before crashing the car. The next hearing date is set for Thursday, Feb. 7, at 1 p.m. in Wythe County General District Court.

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