Former Hospital Employee Charged with Stealing Ketamine

BOSTON, Oct. 22, 2013—A former employee at a Boston hospital was arraigned today on charges that he used his medical access to obtain more than 500 bottles of Ketamine, a controlled substance, for his own purposes, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.

JOSHUA SMITH (D.O.B. 5/8/83), formerly of Somerville and now a resident of Worcester, is charged in Brighton District Court with 18 counts of larceny of a drug. Assistant District Attorney Sheila Lawn recommended that he be held on $10,000 cash bail and that he wear a GPS monitoring device, stay away from his former employer, surrender his passport, remain drug-free, and submit to random drug tests if he posts that amount.

Judge David T. Donnelly imposed $10,000 surety or $1,000 cash bail with all of Lawn’s recommended conditions of release.

Lawn told the court that Smith used his paid position as a research assistant at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to procure 505 bottles of ketamine, with each bottle containing 10ml of the Class A substance, in 18 separate shipments between August 2012 and August 2013.

Beth Israel administrators told investigators that ketamine is primarily used as a veterinary anesthetic but is also used illicitly. Administrators also told investigators that the drugs in question cost the hospital about $5,500.

The alleged theft came to light in August of this year, when Smith was not present at work and a pharmaceutical package arrived for him. Knowing that some medications need to be refrigerated, a co-worker signed for the package and opened it to see if any of its contents required special storage. The co-worker observed that it contained 36 bottles of ketamine and recognized it to be a large quantity of a drug strictly controlled by state and federal law.

After the co-worker disclosed this information to administrators, Beth Israel staff began checking records and learned that the package and several similar, previous orders had been placed by Smith.

Smith was terminated as a result and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center police obtained a complaint against him. He was summonsed into court, where he was represented today by attorney Richard Pareles. He will return to court on Dec. 10.


All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.