Federal drug charges are always serious. That’s why it’s important to make sure that federal prosecutors are following the letter of the law when they are trying to make a case against someone. The recent end of a drug case in another state revealed that maybe the government bit off more than it could chew.

A doctor who was being charged in selling prescription drugs over the Internet was recently set free, because the government said it had too much evidence. The man, who was indicted for the alleged drug crimes in 2007, was alleged to sell prescription drugs to patients he had never met or examined.

The doctor, a native of Panama, allegedly fled to Panama in 2004 after learning of the investigation against him. Panama will not extradite its own citizens, and prosecutors said the 400,000 documents they had amassed for the case were becoming too expensive to keep on government servers.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the documents swallowed up 5 percent of the agency’s storage capacity. But one computer expert, who runs a website that is a resource for information about computer storage, doubted the government’s excuse. An external hard drive with two terabytes of storage (the amount the government had in this case) would cost around $100.

“I’m thinking that excuse is just their easy way out,” the man said. The case will not be refilled.

It remains to be seen why the government took so long in investigating the case and bringing charges forward. The doctor had a right to speedy trial just as much as anyone else. In this case it appears federal prosecutors have no one to blame but themselves.

Source: Associated Press, “Drug charges dropped because of too much evidence,” Ryan Foley, Aug. 15, 2012