News and Press Releases

Defendant Trafficked Huge Amounts of Prescription Narcotics from LA to Seattle

November 14, 2008

LEE KNOX, 56, of Phoenix, Arizona, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to six years in prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Oxycodone, Hydrocodone and other pharmaceutical drugs. KNOX transported tens of thousands of Oxycodone pills every few weeks from a source in Los Angeles to the Seattle area. KNOX made hundreds of thousands of dollars through the drug distribution, and as part of his sentence will be forfeiting two luxury automobiles and more than $175,000 seized from his bank accounts. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez noted that this was a very serious crime, especially in light of the news just this morning regarding the high incidence of overdose deaths from prescription narcotics in Washington State.

According to records filed in the case, KNOX was identified by law enforcement as they attempted to determine the source of oxycodone pills being distributed in the Kitsap County area. In May 2007, KNOX was identified as the source of thousands of oxycodone pills delivered every few weeks to Everett. KNOX would drive the pills north from Los Angeles with another co-conspirator, and would charge the recipient in Seattle $33 per pill. The pills were then distributed in Kitsap and Snohomish counties. In one transaction, KNOX provided some 7,000 pills and collected more than $230,000 cash. KNOX was arrested on June 2, 2007, with more than 15,000 pills he planned to distribute to two other conspirators in the Seattle area.

Two others already received significant sentences in the case. Christopher Newton of Everett was sentenced to 40 months in prison, and Timothy Bland of Everett was sentenced to 117 months in prison.

Assistant United States Attorney Sarah Vogel told the court that KNOX was “a businessman who saw an opportunity to make money and he took it.” But she noted that the hundreds of thousands of pills KNOX brought into our state went to feed the habits of addicts across the region. And “a disproportionate number of people in our state are dying from these opiates.”

At sentencing KNOX told the court he didn’t know “so many people were dying on this (drug).” KNOX said he has now learned he has friends who are in bad shape because they are hooked on prescription narcotics.

As part of his sentence KNOX has forfeited to the government a 2006 BMW and a 2007 Mercedes Benz. Under the terms of his supervised release, KNOX, an avid poker player, is prohibited from gambling and may be required to attend gamblers anonymous.

The case was investigated by the Bremerton Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Sarah Vogel and Rich Cohen.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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