Fitzgerald Physician Pleads Guilty To Drug Charges
United States Attorney G.F. “Pete” Peterman, III announces that Dr. Edd Colbert Jones, III, from Fitzgerald, Georgia, has pled guilty to conspiring to distribute and dispense controlled substances including Oxycodone, Alprazolam and Diazepam. Dr. Jones was indicted on April 12, 2016.
In entering his plea, Dr. Jones admitted that he was a licensed physician operating a general practice in Fitzgerald, Georgia. He and co-conspirator Shannon Benedict devised a scheme whereby Ms. Benedict would receive prescriptions in her name and the names of others. The pills received as a result of the prescriptions were sold by Ms. Benedict in the Fitzgerald area. Dr. Jones never conducted any medical examination of Ms. Benedict or any of the persons in whose names he wrote prescriptions at her direction. These prescriptions were provided by him unlawfully and outside the scope of his professional practice.
These charges arose from the execution of a search warrant on April 22, 2015, at Ms. Benedict’s Ben Hill County residence. Inside the residence agents located four (4) prescriptions written by Dr. Jones to persons other than Ms. Benedict - two (2) for Oxycodone and two (2) for Xanax. A second search warrant executed at Dr. Jones’ Ben Hill County office produced no medical files associated with the prescriptions found at Ms. Benedict’s residence. Dr. Jones admitted that he should be held accountable for between 2500 and 5000 units of Schedule III narcotics. Upon entering his plea of guilty, Dr. Jones agreed to forfeit his medical license.
Sentencing in the case will be set in about sixty (60) days following a pre-sentence investigation. Dr. Jones faces a potential maximum penalty of twenty (20) years imprisonment, a $1 million fine, or both. Dr. Jones was taken into custody at the end of the hearing.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Ben Hill County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Leah E. McEwen is prosecuting the case for the government.
“The actions of Dr. Jones in distributing these highly dangerous and extremely addictive drugs violated not only the law but also his oath as a physician by bringing harm instead of healing and suffering instead of relief to those in his community. It is truly a shame to see the privilege of practicing medicine perverted in such a way,” said United States Attorney Peterman.
Daniel R. Salter, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division said, “It is a sad commentary when a trusted person in the medical community attempts to hide behind the veil of legitimacy to commit criminal acts. The reckless distribution of pharmaceuticals results in addiction and death. Many thanks to the hard-working law enforcement partners who worked this case.”
For additional information, contact Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, at 478-621-2603 or firstname.lastname@example.org.