Haverhill Man Pleads Guilty to Selling Misbranded Prescription Drugs for Horses

A local man pleaded guilty in federal court to selling misbranded prescription drugs for horses, U.S. Attorney Scott Murray said. (File photograph)

Haverhill’s Darren B. Stratton pleaded guilty in federal court late last week to selling misbranded prescription drugs for horses, defrauding drug suppliers, customers and state regulators in the process, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray’s office confirmed.

Employed at Horseman’s Tack in Newton, N.H., 45-year-old Stratton sold drugs for animals that were not accompanied by the necessary prescriptions, court papers reveal. For nine months in 2017, Stratton is said to have used the name of a licensed New Hampshire veterinarian to order the medications from mail-order pharmacies, even though the doctor did not visit or offer veterinary services to Horseman’s Tack.

The fraudulently issued medication aimed to improve performance in racehorses, Murray’s office said. A search warrant executed at the Newton, N.H., shop on September 2017 recovered a customer list, prescription drugs and other materials led to Stratton’s arrest.

“Prescription veterinary drugs should be dispensed only upon a valid prescription by a licensed veterinarian, and it must bear accurate and true information on the labeling,” FDA Special Agent Jeffrey J. Ebersole said in a statement. “We will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who attempt to evade the FDA’s protections of animal welfare and jeopardize the health and safety of animals.”

Stratton’s sentencing is set for December 6.