The so-called chemist for a weight-loss doctor appeared in federal court yesterday and admitted his role in an illegal drug manufacturing operation that produced the club drug Ecstasy, prosecutors said.
In U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Gerard G. Galvez, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to manufacture Ecstasy for cooking up millions of dollars' worth of the illegal drug.
The maximum sentence for the crime is 20 years in prison.
It was unclear how yesterday's plea would affect the case against Dr. Robert M. Keenan, 45, who ran Elite Weight Management Center in Towson. His trial is scheduled for Monday.
Keenan was taken into federal custody in October on charges of conspiring to unlawfully manufacture more than 10 kilograms of Ecstasy; unlawfully manufacturing and possession with intent to manufacture phentermine HCl, and repackaging drug packages at an unregistered facility.
On Jan. 22, 2004, Baltimore police, with agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration, raided homes in the 900 block of Fell St. and the 1100 block of Baylis St.
They based their search on a confidential informant who said Keenan and Gardez were manufacturing MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy, inside the Fell Street condominium.
In that search, police said, they found drug-making tools, thousands of empty capsules, "mounds" of the diet drug phentermine, lab notes for preparing Ecstasy and a canister filled with bubbling green liquid they say was in the process of being cooked into the drug.
Keenan's condominium, as well as a nearby home on Baylis Street, made up a full-fledged Ecstasy lab, police said at the time.
The Baylis Street residence, the informant said, contained cookbook material for manufacturing the illegal drug, according to court documents.
In addition to drug-making equipment, authorities found a lab notebook in the bathroom. Several pages of the book contained a formula for making materials needed to create Ecstasy, according to court papers.
Inside the Baylis Street address were chemicals purchased either by Keenan or at his direction, according to court papers. They had been delivered to Elite Weight Management Center.
Court documents said the chemicals were taken by Galvez to Baylis Street to concoct Ecstasy.