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Woman sentenced for drug trafficking that led to opioid overdose deaths

staff reports
An Eastern District of Texas federal courthouse sits in downtown Sherman.

A woman was recently sentenced to 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty on Sep. 10, 2020 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, namely hydromorphone.

Catherine Ardis  was sentenced to 180 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone on Jan. 22, 2021.

The Eastern District of Texas released information related to the case.

            "According to information presented in court, federal agents began an investigation of Ardis and others in June of 2019 after three persons died as a result of opiates purchased from Ardis at her residence on FM 105 North in Vidor," a news release from acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei said. "Medical examination of the deceased persons determined that the victims died from poly-drug toxicity resulting from the use of hydromorphone pills, also referred to as Dilaudid.  As part of the factual basis for the plea, Ardis admitted to selling the hydromorphone pills that resulted in the death of the three victims."

“Prescription opiates require a doctor’s consultation and care for a reason,” Ganjei said in the release.  “Those that put the public at risk for a quick buck will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

“This case is a tragic reminder that the abuse of opioids and other prescription pills is just as deadly as illicit narcotics, and those who traffic in diverted pharmaceuticals are held equally responsible under the law,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge, Steven S. Whipple.  “We hope that this case serves as a warning to those who illegally distribute pharmaceuticals or those who may abuse them.”

            This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Vidor Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Beaumont Police Department, Port Arthur Police Department, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael A. Anderson.