SALT LAKE CITY – Dr. Simmon Lee Wilcox, age 60, of Las Vegas, who was found guilty in January of one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and one count of distribution of oxycodone following a trial in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, will serve 100 months in federal prison.
U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart imposed the sentence Monday morning. Wilcox will be on supervised release for 36 months when he finishes his prison sentence. He will self-surrender to begin serving his prison sentence in August.
Evidence at the trial showed Dr. Wilcox wrote about 618 prescriptions resulting in the diversion of approximately 81,000 30-milligram oxycodone pills for non-medical purposes between July of 2010 and March of 2013. Dr. Wilcox wrote hundreds of prescriptions to people using false identifications that were filled at various pharmacies in Utah and Nevada. Those who filled the prescriptions and took possession of the oxycodone either sold it or used it personally.
Five co-conspirators in the case previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone. Benjamin David Grisel, age 49, of Santa Clara, has been sentenced to 48 months in prison; Brenda Grisel, age 48, also of Santa Clara, will serve 12 months in prison. Jeron Scott Hales, age 40, of Hurricane, is serving a 32-month sentence and Jeremy Daniel Perkins, age 36, of Washington, was sentenced to time served. Randall David Ayrton, age 35, of St. George, is serving a 36-month sentenced. As a part of plea agreements reached with federal prosecutors, co-conspirators in the case admitted they conspired with Dr. Wilcox to use his medical license to write prescriptions for oxycodone pills. To facilitate the conspiracy, one of the co-conspirators created false identification documents for the group to use in filling the oxycodone prescriptions at various pharmacies.
The defendants in the case were charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in October 2013 following an investigation by DEA drug diversion investigators.
In a sentencing memorandum filed in anticipation of Monday’s sentencing hearing, federal prosecutors highlight the tragic effects abuse of oxycodone is having throughout the United States. “Utah is not exempt from this tragedy. Just in the past week, the Utah Department of Health has noted that new data shows six people die each week in Utah as a result of overdosing on prescription opioids,” prosecutors noted in the memorandum.
“I have talked before about the heroin and opioid tsunami threatening Utah. In 2012, 31.71 pounds of heroin were seized in Utah. In 2014, that number grew to 244.04 pounds,” U.S. Attorney John W. Huber said today. “The 81,000 oxycodone pills that found their way into our communities through the 618 prescriptions Dr. Wilcox wrote are no different than a drug dealer selling heroin on the corner. In fact, these crimes are worse because they abuse the trust we place in physicians. To stop the wave we are seeing, we need to attack every angle of the heroin and opioid problem in our state,” Huber said.
“DEA takes its responsibility to prevent the distribution of dangerous and addictive drugs to those who do not have a medical reason to have them very seriously,” Acting DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge John Eddington said today. “We are pleased with the sentence imposed on Dr. Wilcox today and believe it reflects the seriousness of the conduct involved in this case.”