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Press Release

Jury Finds St. George Doctor Guilty Of Narcotics Trafficking Offenses After Eight-Day Federal Trial

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Utah

         SALT LAKE CITY – A jury concluded an eight-day trial in U.S. District Court Thursday evening finding Dr. Simmon Lee Wilcox, age 60, of Las Vegas, guilty of one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and one count of distribution of oxycodone.  The jury acquitted Wilcox on three counts of distribution of hydrocodone. The jury deliberated about five hours before returning the verdict.

         Evidence at the trial showed Dr. Wilcox wrote about 618 prescriptions resulting in the diversion of approximately 74,000 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, and Brenda Grisel, age 48, both of Santa Clara; Jeron Scott Hales, age 40, of Hurricane; Jeremy Daniel Perkins, age 36, of Washington; Randall David Ayrton, age 35, of St. George; and Wilcox were initially charged in a 12-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in October 2013 following an investigation by DEA drug diversion investigators. The first 11 counts of the indictment involved drug trafficking offenses.  The final count charged identification document fraud.

         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. Co-conspirators in the case are scheduled to be sentenced in February.

         “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 74,000 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 the jury recognized the seriousness of the conduct involved in this case.”

         U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart, who presided over the trial, set sentencing for Dr. Wilcox for April 18, 2016, at 10 a.m. Wilcox faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $1 million for each of the two drug distribution counts of conviction.

Updated February 1, 2016

Topic
Drug Trafficking
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