United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today, April E. Hayworth, 31, Indianapolis, and Christina A. Smith, 37, Indianapolis, were charged today on federal drug, conspiracy, and burglary charges.
“During this COVID19 pandemic, it is vitally important to protect our medical system and the supplies that are needed to treat patients and protect our medical workers,” said Minkler. “These individuals were trying to make some quick money at the cost of endangering innocent lives. This conduct will not be tolerated during a pandemic or ever.”
On April 14, 2020, two females broke into a restricted medication storage area at the Central Indiana Cancer Center and stole thirty carpujets of morphine, a schedule II controlled substance. With a covering over their heads, each individual opened multiple cabinets, removing the missing controlled substances.
Agents also discovered that Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”) and other medical supplies had been stolen from the hospital, including 7 boxes of Isolation masks; 50 tubs of Sani-wipes; 10 containers of soap; 20 bottles of hand sanitizer; 8 bottles of air deodorizer; and 6 tubs of bleach wipes.
During the investigation, one of the females was identified as April Hayworth, a member of the cleaning crew at the hospital. Further investigation identified the other female as Christina Smith. Investigators discovered that Smith planned on selling the morphine.
Investigators later observed Smith entering a vehicle with an associate. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officers initiated a traffic stop.
Ms. Smith was identified and arrested on an outstanding arrest warrant.
During the arrest, officers discovered twenty-nine carpujets of morphine in the vehicle.
This case was the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
“It is absolutely shameful with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, that Ms. Hayworth and Ms. Smith would burglarize the Central Indiana Cancer Centers, and steal a significant amount of morphine and personal protective equipment,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Michael Gannon.
“The DEA Tactical Diversion Squad, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, United States Attorney’s Office, Indiana University Health Care, and the cleaning company are to be commended for their assistance in holding Ms. Hayworth and Ms. Smith accountable for their misconduct.”
“As our community faces the challenges that result from COVID-19, it is our collective responsibility to support the healthcare workers serving on the frontlines of this pandemic – and that means ensuring they have all of the tools, and especially the Personal Protective Equipment, they need to serve residents,” said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor. “We are in this together. When someone seeks to profit from harming our healthcare partners, law enforcement will hold them accountable to the fullest extent possible.”
According to Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Sawa who is prosecuting this case for the government, each defendant faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment, 3 years of supervised release, and a maximum fine of $1,000,000.
A charge is not evidence of guilt. All parties are presumed innocent until proven otherwise in federal court.
In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution demonstrates the office’s firm commitment to targeting the prosecution of opioid dealers to prevent the spread of opioid addiction in the district. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan Section 3.2.
This prosecution also shows the office’s strong commitment to combating fraud and criminal activity related to COVID-19, which is reflected in the creation of a Coronavirus Fraud Task Force in the Southern District of Indiana.