CA prison official cloaks thiopental find

More on the intrigue among prison officials struggling with the dearth of a drug needed for death-penalty injections: California authorities found a source right next door in Arizona.

Having moved on last fall after its snub by the Texas penal system for a loan of sodium thiopental, an undersecretary for California's corrections department struck gold in the Grand Canyon State. A planned September 30 execution had been delayed by an appeal and could not be resolved in the few days remaining before the thiopental on hand expired.

Arizona itself had just navigated the same execution-injection turbulence by secretly importing the drug from a source it wouldn't name, which turned out to be Archimedes Pharma. The refusal to name its source led to a stay of execution, which was ultimately overturned.

Aware of the sensitivity surrounding the now high-visibility drug in such short supply, California understood the need to be discreet, reports AZCentral. The undersecretary arranged for a corrections team at a southern California prison to drive to Florence, AZ, and pick up the 12 grams of thiopental. That team rendezvoused in Bakersfield with another, which completed the trek to San Quentin.

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