A federal jury deliberated three hours Friday before returning guilty verdicts against two men who supplied a Columbia area drug kingpin with large amounts of oxycodone for several years.
The two men, Calvin Sims, 54, of West Columbia, and Daryal Hipp, 59, of the Columbia area, were convicted of conspiracy to traffic in oxycodone.
The maximum penalty they face is 20 years. They will be sentenced at a later date by U.S. Judge Michelle Childs.
Evidence during the five day trial at the U.S. courthouse in Columbia showed that Sims, Hipp and seven other defendants were small but vital cogs in a scheme orchestrated by Theodore “Uncle Teddy” Fulton, 61, who lived in a large house in the exclusive Wildewood community, according to trial evidence.
Prosecutors Winston Holliday and Ben Garner told the jury there was more than enough evidence to find the pair guilty. They said all the other co-defendants had accepted responsibility by pleading guilty, but not Hipp and Sims. Neither testified.
Under Fultonʼs direction, Sims, Hipp and others for several years visited Irmo physician Sean Fuller once a month. At each visit, Fuller, a family practice doctor, would write them a prescription for 300 pills of 30-milligram oxycodone – the highest possible dose – with instructions to take up to 10 a day for pain.
Testimony indicated that although Fulton paid his underlings $5-7 for each pill and let them keep some of the pills, the drug kingpin was able to sell the drug at various places, including flea markets, for up to $25 a pill, to addicts.
Federal prosecutors said they do not intend to charge Fuller with any crime because, although he was a high prescriber of oxycodone, there was no evidence that he had knowledge of Fultonʼs scheme.
Fuller testified that he questioned his patients about their pain before prescribing oxycodone and had them take a monthly drug urine test to make sure they were taking the drug.
But Fulton gave his underlings oxycodone-laced urine for their monthly visits to fool the doctor, who said he trusted his patients to tell him the truth.