LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — One of the top health officials in the state has a lot more than COVID-19 on his plate these days. Alfred McGugin was arraigned this month on criminal charges, including DUI and possession of controlled substances.
While he faces these charges, he remains on the job at the Southern Nevada Health District.
The I-Team took a deeper look, discovering this was not McGugin’s first arrest.
McGugin has assumed a much higher public profile since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, appearing in news reports and demonstrating how testing works. He’s also reported to SNHD at monthly meetings about the huge responsibilities he oversees as operations officer for the district’s community health centers, which are clinics that provide a wide range of healthcare during a critical time.
But few have seen McGugin’s mugshot, taken after his arrest by the Nevada Highway Patrol earlier this year.
The arrest report noted a witness spotted McGugin’s vehicle driving erratically near Blue Diamond and Durango and called police. After McGugin stopped at a convenience store, an NHP trooper pulled him over a short distance away. He failed a field sobriety test, and the trooper found a 2017 prescription bottle with codeine, a controlled substance, in his vehicle.
The February arrest became known to employees at the Health District, in part because they were already wary about McGugin’s management style. He was hired by the District in late 2019 soon after Chief Health Officer Joe Iser was put on permanent leave.
Health District employees did their own digging and found their new boss also had previous problems with the law, including a 2018 DUI arrest in Florida. Florida records provided to the I-Team show McGugin had a blood alcohol content of .29, which is more than three times the legal limit.
McGugin paid a large fine, but a year later, was hired in Nevada, despite the Health District’s stated policy that all applicants must undergo a “thorough background check.”
The Nevada arrest report contained three charges: misdemeanor DUI, misdemeanor reckless driving and a felony charge for possession of a controlled substance. The latter two charges have since been dropped by the District Attorney.
Health district employees note that among many operations McGugin oversees is the District’s pharmacy services.
As of two weeks ago, McGugin was still working at the Health District. The I-Team reached out to the District to ask if they were aware of his pending criminal charges but were told they do not comment about personnel matters.