Warrant: Drug in Jackson case came from Vegas firm
November 22, 2009
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Michael Jackson’s doctor bought a powerful anesthetic in Nevada and had it shipped to California, where it was found at the pop singer’s bedside after he died, court documents released Friday show.
Search warrant records released despite objections by Los Angeles police revealed that investigators found receipts in Dr. Conrad Murray’s Las Vegas medical office showing he purchased the sedative propofol from Applied Pharmacy Services on May 12.
The Los Angeles County coroner blamed propofol in ruling that the 50-year-old pop music icon’s June 25 death was a homicide. The coroner also cited the sedative lorazepam.
Murray, 56, a cardiologist licensed in Nevada, California and Texas, told police he used propofol along with other sedatives to help Jackson sleep.
Propofol is usually used in medical settings by anesthesia professionals to render patients unconscious for surgery. Officials say it is not meant for use as a sleep agent. However, the milky liquid drug is not regulated by state and federal authorities as a controlled substance.
Drug Enforcement Administration spokeswoman Sarah Pullen in Los Angeles said a doctor who is licensed in two states can buy propofol in one state and administer it in the other.
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Murray is the focus of a Los Angeles police homicide investigation, but has not been charged with a crime.
Records show he obtained the propofol about the same time he was hired in May to accompany Jackson on a world tour. He told police he administered 50 milligrams of the drug intravenously per night to help Jackson sleep, but was trying to use less.
In the warrant documents, investigators said Murray told them he gave propofol to Jackson in the hours before he died in a rented Los Angeles mansion.
Through a spokeswoman, Murray maintains that he didn’t prescribe or administer anything to Jackson that should have killed him.
Murray’s attorney, Edward Chernoff, issued a statement Friday saying he found no surprises in the newly released affidavit.
“The fact that Dr. Murray ordered five bottles of propofol is consistent with what he told investigators,” Chernoff said.
The affidavit showed that authorities tracing the manufacturing lot numbers of propofol bottles found in Murray’s medical bag and on Jackson’s bedside table learned that Murray bought five, 100-milliliter bottles of the drug from the Las Vegas pharmacy as part of an order costing $853.
He paid $65 extra to have it sent to him by overnight express, the document states.
Authorities said the amount of the drug purchased did not appear improper, the fact that it was moved across state lines from Nevada to California was not illegal, and because propofol is not a controlled substance it would not be tracked.
A veteran DEA investigator in Las Vegas, Jayne Tomko Griffin, said the five bottles of propofol could have provided 100 doses of 50 milligrams each.
Los Angeles police fought to keep records of the Aug. 11 search sealed. A detective argued that releasing the documents before Jan. 18 would jeopardize the investigation.
Attorneys representing The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, TMZ Productions Inc. of Los Angeles and Stephens Media LLC, the parent company of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, argued there was no reason for the documents to remain secret.
Clark County District Judge Valerie Adair decided Thursday to unseal the records. Her order was signed Friday.
Associated Press staff writer Thomas Watkins in Los Angeles contributed to this report.