ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - A surgical technologist accused of stealing powerful drugs and putting thousands of Colorado patients at risk is now in federal custody.
Rocky Allen, 28, surrendered to federal agents in Denver Tuesday morning, according to the Department of Justice.
He made his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon and the judge ordered Allen be held without bond.
In court, Allen showed little emotion, according to Denver7 reporter Jennifer Kovaleski.
Allen's next hearing is Friday.
Allen was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on charges of tampering with a consumer product and obtaining a controlled substance by deceit, according to the Department of Justice.
The Medical Director of Radiology at Swedish Medical Center, Dr. Matthew Fleishman, says a staff member witnessed the apparent theft of a potent narcotic drug by Allen.
According to the indictment, on Jan. 22, 2016, Allen, "with reckless disregard for the risk that another person will be placed in danger of bodily injury, and under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to such risk, tampered and attempted to tamper with a consumer product, namely a syringe containing Fentanyl Citrate, by removing the syringe containing Fentanyl Citrate and replacing it with a similar syringe containing another substance."
According to the Order of Summary Suspension, Allen later submitted to a urinalysis which was positive for fentanyl and marijuana.
As a result, Swedish Medical Center has asked approximately 3,000 patients who had surgery between Aug.17, 2015 and Jan. 22, 2016 in the main operating rooms and in the orthopedic operating room on Oct. 28, 2015 to be tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C free of charge.
Swedish Medical Center is following the recommendations for testing from the Health Department and the CDC based on the investigations' focus on an injectable medication.
Allen faces one count of tampering with a consumer product. If convicted on that count, he faces not more than 10 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine. He also faces one count of obtaining a controlled substance by deceit and subterfuge. If convicted on that count, he faces not more than 4 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.
“Regrettably, this former employee’s actions may have exposed some of our patients to blood born infections,” Dr. Fleishman said, “including Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.”
At least 234 patients treated at the hospital have already been tested.
Fleishman says patients can receive testing free of charge at a LabCorp of their choice by making an appointment at www.labcorp.com or by calling1-888-LAB-CORP. Patients should bring the letter they receive from Swedish Medical Center to their appointment.
“I am personally and the whole Swedish community are devastated by this,” Dr. Fleishman said. “We’re working really hard to help these patients.”