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Arundel charges former prison guard in prescription fraud


A former guard at the Maryland Correctional Training Center and his wife, charged in Virginia last month with 70 counts of drug possession with intent to distribute, were charged by Anne Arundel County police yesterday with forging prescriptions at a Glen Burnie pharmacy.

Police said Ira Braswell Jr., 53, and Sarah J. Braswell, 51, of Winchester, Va., forged prescriptions at drugstores in Virginia and West Virginia, Baltimore, Hagerstown, Glen Burnie and Odenton.

"We only have a small part of it here," said Sgt. John Santana, supervisor of the county's police pharmaceutical unit.

The investigation began June 1 when a pharmacist at Giant Pharmacy in Glen Burnie contacted police after receiving a suspicious prescription presented by a Virginia man wearing a Maryland correctional uniform. County police contacted Virginia State Police, who called the doctor's number listed on the prescription. Police say the number was traced to the Braswells' address.

In August, Virginia State Police searched the couple's home and found many prescription drugs and receipts for forged prescriptions from Beacon Pharmacy in Odenton. The Braswells were arrested but were released on bail.

Yesterday, Anne Arundel County police issued an arrest warrant of their own charging Mr. Braswell with six counts of forging prescriptions at Giant.

Police said 17 more counts of forgery -- in connection with the pharmacy in Odenton -- will be sent to the state's attorney's office for grand jury review.

Police said they would not attempt to arrest the couple until the grand jury returns.

Sergeant Santana said that because so many drugs were involved, "it appeared that the suspects may have been filling drug orders for inmates at the Hagerstown Correctional Center."

Leonard Sipes, spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety, said Mr. Braswell was an officer in Hagerstown from 1984 until he resigned Aug. 16.

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