3 in Upstate sentenced in oxycodone conspiracy
08/20/2014 6:33 PM
08/20/2014 6:35 PM
Three members of an Upstate conspiracy to distribute the narcotic painkiller oxycodone were sentenced in federal court Wednesday.
Lance C. Tew, 26, Jessica R. Hollingsworth, 24, and Mary Virginia Merritt, 42, pleaded guilty to charges that they operated an elaborate conspiracy to obtain the Schedule II narcotic, oxycodone, by creating fake prescriptions and recruiting people - often paying them in pills - to get the prescriptions filled at pharmacies throughout the Upstate and in western North Carolina.
The operation unraveled January 15, 2013 when Hollingsworth and Tew were arrested trying to pass one of the fake prescriptions at a CVS in York County. A rental car that Tew was driving was searched and investigators turned up cash, pills, fake IDs, blank prescriptions and bogus computer-generated prescriptions. Merritt used her computer skills to create the fake prescriptions, US Attorney Bill Nettles said in a news release. The conspirators were passing at least one fake prescription per day.
Depending on the strength, oxycodone can sell from $5 to $80 per pill on the street compared to $1.24 to $6 retail.
Lance Tew of Greer was sentenced to 8.3 years, Jessica Hollinsworth of Taylors was sentenced to 4 years and Mary Merritt, of Greer, was sentenced to 5 years, Nettles said.
Oops, you haven't selected any newsletters. Please check the box next to one or more of our email newsletters and submit again.
Oops, you didn't provide a valid email address. Please double-check the email field and submit again.
Editor's Choice Videos
Join the Discussion
The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.