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Clear Lake man pleads guilty to stealing fentanyl

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A Clear Lake man pleaded guilty to stealing fentanyl from elderly patients in federal court in Sioux City on Monday. 

Ryan William Thornton, 27, is facing up to four years in prison after being convicted of acquiring fentanyl by misrepresentation, fraud and subterfuge.

Some people are so good at deception that you feel it’s impossible to distinguish between what is false and what is true

Thornton, a nurse, admitted in the guilty plea that he diverted liquid fentanyl intended for patients for his own use by removing the drug from patients' IV pumps with a syringe.

According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Thornton remains free on bond pending sentencing.  Thornton faces a possible maximum sentence of four years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and one year of supervised release following any imprisonment.

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