A North Charleston, South Carolina woman was arrested earlier this week and charged with eleven counts of violating a statute related to the fraudulent acquisition of drugs or drug compounds.
According to Charleston County detention center booking records, 37-year-old Jennifer Michelle Walker was arrested on Monday (October 2, 2023) by agents of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC).
Arrest warrants obtained by this media outlet from SCDHEC indicate Walker repeatedly and unlawfully obtained quantities of Propofol – a powerful surgical anesthetic – in her capacity as a veterinary assistant at Banfield Pet Hospital in North Charleston. The theft of these drugs allegedly occurred on eleven different occasions between May 24 and July 3 of this year.
It is not immediately clear why Walker allegedly stole the drugs – nor is it clear what she allegedly with them.
For those of you unfamiliar with Propofol, it’s the drug that killed Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, in 2009. Jackson’s death was attributed to “acute propofol intoxication” and his physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, was eventually convicted of involuntary manslaughter in connection with Jackson’s death for causing him to inadvertently overdose on the drug.
Probable cause affidavits attesting to the allegations against Walke were sworn out on August 21, 2023. Those affidavits were based on “police investigation which includes but is not necessarily limited to statements and video surveillance.”
The specific law Walker is accused of violating is S.C. Code of Laws § 44-53-40, which states it is “unlawful for a person to obtain or attempt to obtain a drug or device or any pharmaceutical preparation, chemical, or chemical compound that is restricted in regard to its sale at retail by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or subterfuge.”
To convict someone of the charge, it must be shown “by clear and convincing evidence that the drug, pharmaceutical preparation, chemical, chemical compound, or device would not have been obtained but for the fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, subterfuge, forgery, alteration, falsification, concealment, or other prohibited act allegedly practiced by the accused.”
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All of the charges against Walker are misdemeanors, but carry potentially significant prison time. For a first offense, fines of up to $500 and a prison term of up to two years can be levied. Upon conviction for a second or subsequent offense – and make no mistake, that’s a critical “or” in this case – the crime is a felony punishable by fines of up to $2,000 and prison terms of up to five years.
As with anyone accused of committing any crime, Walker is considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system – or until such time as she may wish to enter some form of allocution in connection with a plea agreement with prosecutors related to any of the charges filed against her. Our open microphone is also available to her and/ or her counsel in the event they wish to address any of the allegations against her.
S.C. magistrate Amanda S. Haselden issued a $10,000 personal recognizance bond for Walker. Her first court appearance is scheduled for December 1, 2023.
THE WARRANTS …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.
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