REPORT: American man in India illegally exported execution drugs to Nebraska, other states
- BuzzFeed reports that American Chris Harris set up an office in India from which he offered sodium thiopental to U.S. states, which wanted to stock execution drugs. The sales date back to 2010.
- Though Harris has adamantly refused to speak to reporters, various types of research, including emails and conversations with sources, has revealed that Harris illegally sold execution drugs to at least four, and possibly five, states.
- One of Harris' biggest customers is Nebraska. Governor Pete Ricketts agreed to buy large amounts of soidum thiopental, with the goal of having a stockpile of execution drugs—although the state legislature was considering repealing the death penalty and eventually did.
More than anything else, the case of Chris Harris, a prototypical example of a ne'er-do-well trying to find a way to make money through criminal activity, exemplifies the "where there's a will, there's a way" mentality.
States including Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and possibly others were determined to procure execution drugs even as they faced the potential demise of the death penalty system and had to procure the drugs illegally, which eventually led to FDA intervention.
Efforts to make his business legitimate by using small U.S.-based pharmaceutical companies as intermediaries have failed, and (perhaps most ironically), because of concerns about legality, the drugs, which cost tens of thousands of dollars over the last five years, have gone unused.