Food and Drug Administration
Office of Criminal Investigations
U.S. Department of Justice Press Release
For Immediate Release
March 20, 2013
United States Attorney
District of Minnesota
Contact: Jeanne F. Cooney
Director of Community Relations
MINNEAPOLIS-Earlier today in federal court, a 43-year-old Kimball nurse was sentenced for fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance, namely hydromorphone hydrochloride, commonly sold as Dilaudid. United States District Court Judge Patrick J. Schiltz sentenced Blake Daniel Zenner to 24 months in federal prison on one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. In addition, Zenner was ordered to pay $340,000 in restitution. Zenner was charged on September 4, 2012, and pleaded guilty on September 26, 2012.
Following today's sentencing, Dan Henson, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigations ("FDA-OCI") Chicago Field Office, one of the federal investigative agencies in this case, said, "The defendant exhibited a blatant and heartless disregard for the patients he victimized. FDA-OCI is committed to investigating crimes like these that pose a significant threat to public health, and we commend the U.S. Attorney's Office for its prosecution of this matter."
In his plea agreement, Zenner admitted that from November 2010 to March 8, 2011, he fraudulently acquired Dilaudid while working as a registered nurse at a hospital in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Zenner accessed hospital lockboxes and used syringes to remove hydromorphone hydrochloride from intravenous bags intended for hospital patients. On some occasions, he injected the intravenous bags with saline solution to replace the missing Dilaudid before returning the bags to the lockboxes for patient use. As a result of Zenner's actions, approximately 25 hospital patients were infected with bacteria.
This case was the result of an investigation by FDA-OCI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly A. Svendsen.