Nurse Practitioner Charged with Unlawfully Dispensing Oxycodone in Curry County
Defendant Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE – David L. Jones, 61, of Portales, N.M., made his initial appearance in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., on a criminal complaint charging him with unlawfully dispensing of Oxycodone, a pain medication, outside the scope of his professional practice and without legitimate medical purpose. Jones entered a not guilty plea to the charges in the criminal complaint and was released pending trial on conditions of release under pretrial supervision.
According to the criminal complaint, Jones is a licensed nurse practitioner employed by a healthcare center in Clovis, N.M. It alleges that in Oct. 2014, DEA received information from the Curry County Sheriff’s Department that Jones was illegally prescribing prescription controlled substances. Acting on that information, the DEA interviewed one of Jones’ former patients who asserted that Jones allegedly provided him with prescriptions for Oxycodone despite knowing that he was addicted to painkiller. The former patient alleged that Jones provided the prescription with the understanding that he would provide Jones with Oxycodone.
The complaint further alleges that in Feb. 2015, the DEA and Curry County Sheriff’s Office pursued an investigation during which two confidential sources allegedly obtained prescriptions for Oxycodone from Jones with the understanding that they would give some of the Oxycodone to Jones. It further alleges that on Feb. 18 and Feb. 20, 2015, Jones provided three prescriptions for Oxycodone to the confidential sources which they used, under the supervision of DEA agents, to obtain Oxycodone. On Feb. 20, 2015, one of the informants allegedly provided some of the Oxycodone obtained with the prescriptions to Jones. Jones allegedly was in possession of the Oxycodone when DEA agents executed a search warrant on his vehicle.
If convicted of the charges in the criminal complaint, Jones faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by the Tactical Diversion Squad of the DEA’s Albuquerque office and the Curry County Sheriff’s Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel R. Meyers.
DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squads combine DEA resources with those of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in an innovative effort to investigate, disrupt and dismantle those suspected of violating the Controlled Substances Act or other appropriate federal, state or local statutes pertaining to the diversion of licit pharmaceutical controlled substances or listed chemicals.
This case is being prosecuted pursuant to the New Mexico Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Initiative. The HOPE Initiative is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center that is partnering with the Bernalillo County Opioid Accountability Initiative with the overriding goal of reducing the number of opioid-related deaths in the District of New Mexico. The HOPE Initiative comprised of five components: (1) prevention and education; (2) treatment; (3) law enforcement; (4) reentry; and (5) strategic planning. The law enforcement component of the HOPE Initiative is led by the Organized Crime Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the DEA in conjunction with their federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners. Targeting members of major heroin and opioid trafficking organizations for investigation and prosecution is a priority of the HOPE Initiative.