Man pleads guilty to illegally obtaining sleeping pills |

Man pleads guilty to illegally obtaining sleeping pills

Staff Reports

A 33-year-old man who illegally obtained more than 1,600 prescription sleeping pills was admitted to Western Nevada Regional Drug Court on Tuesday and advised to take the program seriously.

Yen Kai Liao pleaded guilty to unlawful taking or obtaining of a controlled substance or prescription.

According to investigators’ reports, Liao is accused of obtaining 54 prescriptions from 11 physicians for a total of 1,621 Ambien tablets.

The crimes occurred between March 2009-10.

Reports indicated he got prescriptions from doctors in Reno, Carson City and Douglas County.

In some cases, Liao reportedly told the doctors he lost the prescription or dropped the tablets down the sink.

The doctors became suspicious when he kept trying to renew prescriptions and reported him to the state pharmacy board which turned the investigation over to the Tri-Net drug task force.

Liao told District Judge Dave Gamble he was arrested after he caused a traffic accident by falling asleep at the wheel.

He told Gamble he had not used any controlled substances since July.

“I’m concerned that here is a person who was able to just stop using drugs,” Gamble said. “That means you may or may not have an addiction that can be helped by drug court, or you may be lying to me about your drug use.”

Gamble placed him under the supervision of the Department of Alternative Sentencing.

“I hope that this is a short-term problem that can be solved while you are in drug court,” Gamble said.

Liao faced up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.