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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nevada

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Medical Assistant Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison For Distribution Of Large Quantities Of Oxycodone

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A medical assistant for a pain management specialist was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for distribution of large quantities of highly addictive prescription opioids, including oxycodone, and other controlled substances without a medical purpose, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Steven W. Myhre for the District of Nevada.

After a 10-week jury trial that ended in March, David A. Litwin, 58, was found guilty of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances (oxycodone) and distribution of controlled substances. Co-defendant Dr. Henri Wetselaar, 93, was also found guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. United States District Judge Kent J. Dawson presided over both sentencing hearings.

According to the indictment, Wetselaar performed house calls and maintained a medical practice on the east side of Las Vegas. He prescribed large amounts of prescription drugs, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, Xanax and Soma, to persons for no legitimate medical purpose. Litwin and Wetselaar conspired with each other and local drug dealers to distribute the prescription drugs prescribed by Wetselaar in and around Las Vegas.

The case was investigated by the DEA, FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigations, the Nevada Department of Public Safety, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the U.S. Department of Labor-OIG, and the U.S. Department of Human and Health Services-OIG. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cristina D. Silva and Andrew Duncan.

The overdose rates for synthetic opioids and pain relievers have continued to rise over the past several years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 144 drug overdose deaths every day and 63% of those deaths are pharmaceutical opioids or heroin related. Approximately 75% of new heroin users report having abused prescription opioids before using heroin. Heroin-related overdose deaths have more than quadrupled since 2010.

For information about the dangers of prescription opioids and other drugs, parents, educators, and caregivers may visit the DEA’s resource websites www.getsmartaboutdrugs.gov or www.justthinktwice.gov. If you have a tip or information about illegal sales or distribution of prescription opioids, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, etc., by doctors and pharmacies call the DEA at 1-877-RX-Abuse (1-877-792-2873).

 

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Topic(s): 
Prescription Drugs
Component(s): 
Updated September 27, 2017