City pharmacist charged with felonies


By Steve Hansen

Robert McClelland, pharmacist and owner of Bob’s Budget Pharmacy in Tucumcari, is facing four felony counts, three of which involve unlawfully obtaining dangerous drugs and controlled substances and one related to forgery, court records show.

McClelland was arrested on these charges on Feb. 3, but the incidents for which he is charged occurred in February and March 2015, according to court records. McClelland is free after posting a $20,000 bond, according to court records.

The charges involve prescriptions that were alleged to be improperly written for a member of McClelland’s family, according to a “statement of probable cause” signed by a Detective Charles Bouyer. The statement includes evidence gathered by state drug investigator Bobby Padilla.

McClelland and his attorney, Nancy English, said the charges stem from a family dispute.

English said McClelland has pleaded not guilty.

“I’m looking forward to proving him innocent,” she said.

According to the probable cause statement:

McClelland wrote one prescription on Feb. 24, 2015 for lorazepam, an anxiety drug sold under the brand name Ativan, on a prescription pad pre-signed some years ago by a Tucumcari physician.

The physician told Padilla he had given those forms to McClelland for use in case of emergency, but that he had not authorized the prescription written in February 2015. This prescription resulted in charges against McClelland for obtaining dangerous drugs and forgery.

The other dangerous drug charge and one related to improperly obtaining controlled substances resulted from an prescription refill for clonazepam, used to treat epileptic seizures and panic attacks.

McClelland wrote the refill prescription only six days after a 30-day prescription had been written for the same drug by a Tucumcari nurse practitioner. New Mexico pharmacy regulations require that a refill prescription for a controlled substance like clonazepam not be written until 75 percent of the time allotted for the first prescription has passed, court documents show.

Clonazepam and lorazepam are Schedule IV controlled substances, according to court documents.  U.S. Food and Drug Administration definitions say Schedule IV substances have “low potential for abuse” relative to controlled substances in more serious categories, Schedules III, II and I.

Tenth Judicial District Attorney Tim Rose has referred the case to the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s office in Santa Rosa. Attempts to reach Fourth Judicial District Attorney Richard Flores were not successful.

A preliminary examination hearing in the case is set for 1:30 p.m. March 15 before Judge David Joel Garnett in Quay County Magistrate Court, in Tucumcari.

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