Two pharmacists for a Columbia-area chain of drugstores testified Tuesday in a federal criminal drug trafficking trial that an Irmo doctor’s Oxycodone prescriptions were numerous enough to make them suspicious.
“Oxycodone is used for severe pain; it is used a lot after surgery and for some hospice situations,” Long’s Drugs pharmacist Lindsay Alexander told the jury on the second day of a drug trafficking trial. The trial is giving the public a glimpse of how local doctors prescribed large amounts of the highly addictive narcotic. Prosecutors said some of it then wound up being sold on the street.
Alexander said when she was asked to fill a prescription for accused drug supplier Calvin Sims at Long’s in February 2013 with a prescription for 300 30-milligram Oxycodone pills for one month’s use, she called Sims’ doctor, Sean Fuller, to see what was going on.
When a nurse for Fuller told Alexander that Sims needed the Oxycodone for back pain, Alexander continued to ask the nurse questions and was told Sims had a bulging disc and had been injured in an automobile accident. Alexander filled the prescription.
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Sims, 54, of West Columbia, and Daryal Hipp, 59, of the Columbia area, are on trial this week, accused of conspiring to traffic in Oxycodone. They have pleaded not guilty.
Sims and Hipp are charged with being two of nine people who conspired with admitted drug kingpin Theodore “Uncle Teddy” Fulton, 60, who lived in the Columbia’s upscale Wildewood subdivision, to sell huge quantities of Oxycodone illegally that were obtained legally through local doctors in 2013 and 2014.
Sims and Hipp are accused with getting prescriptions for 300 30-milligram pills of Oxycodone a month from Fuller, then reselling them to Fulton. Fulton pleaded guilty earlier this year to drug trafficking and awaits sentencing.
Eight defendants in the case, including Fulton, have pleaded guilty to Oxycodone trafficking charges and are awaiting sentencing.
Fulton and Fuller, who is not charged with any crime, are expected to testify in the ongoing trial.
Long’s pharmacist Beverly Cross testified Tuesday that Hipp had come into her Irmo-area drugstore on St. Andrews Road and asked for a particular brand of Oxycodone – blue tablets with the letter M in a square made by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. That brand and strength are the most popular among illegal drug users, DEA agent Adam Roberson testified earlier in the trial.
“That just seemed excessive to me,” Cross testified. She told the jury she was unable to fill the prescription that day because the pharmacy didn’t have any blue Oxycodone on hand.
Late Tuesday, another defendant who has pleaded guilty, Denise Fulton, took the witness stand for the prosecution and told the jury that she, as well as Sims and Hipp, had gone to Fuller and been prescribed large amounts of Oxycodone. Denise Fulton, Theodore Fulton’s sister-in-law, told the jury that she, Sims and Hipp were paid by Theodore Fulton when they gave him the Oxycodone Fuller had prescribed.
Oxycodone is highly addictive and widely abused. It’s a powerful painkiller that can induce euphoria and relaxation.