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Texas pharmacy owner pleads guilty in horse doping case

A Texas pharmacy owner has pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the manufacture and sale of dangerous drugs for racehorses. As part of the negotiations, he has agreed to forfeit over $612,000 in profits that authorities confiscated from his bank accounts.

Doping has become a major problem in horse racing, claiming the lives of hundreds of horses in recent years. According to federal court records, the defendant, age 67, owned and operated Weatherford Compounding Pharmacy near Fort Worth from 2010 until 2014. He was not a licensed pharmacist or veterinary professional, but he hired other people to create illicit drug cocktails for horses using ingredients imported from China and India. One of those cocktails claimed to alter "the structure and function" of a horse's body to make it stronger and faster. However, prosecutors said the concoction was not approved by the FDA. In fact, one horse trainer was slapped with a 16-year racing ban after his horses tested positive for the cocktail.

In plea documents, the defendant admitted that he shipped 12 bottles of the mixture to a Louisiana veterinary clinic with the intent to defraud and mislead. He also admitted to introducing adulterated and incorrectly labeled drugs into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud and mislead. He is scheduled to be sentenced in December, and he could be sentenced to up to three years in prison and assessed a fine of up to $250,000.

Individuals charged with federal crimes might be able to protect their future by entering into a plea bargain. A defense attorney could negotiate with prosecutors and attempt to arrange a deal that reduces the number or severity of the charges. This could help the defendant avoid a trial and obtain a more lenient sentence.

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