August 21, 2014
Contact: Chuvalo Truesdell
Phone Number: (404) 893-7000
Members Of Oxycodone Conspiracy Sentenced
COLUMBIA, S.C. - United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Lance C. Tew, age 26, of Greer, Jessica R. Hollingsworth, age 24, of Taylors, and Mary Virginia Merritt, age 42, of Greer, were sentenced today in federal court in Greenville, for conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, a violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846. Senior United States District Judge Henry M. Herlong, Jr., of Greenville sentenced Tew to 100 months, Hollingsworth to 48 months, and Merritt to 60 months in the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Tew, Hollingsworth, and Merritt were part of a conspiracy to create fraudulent prescriptions for oxycodone and recruited individuals to pass the prescriptions at various pharmacies in the upstate area of South Carolina and in western North Carolina.
The criminal activity was discovered when, on January 15, 2013, Jessica Hollingsworth was arrested in a CVS pharmacy in York County for attempting to pass a fraudulent prescription for oxycodone. Lance Tew was the person who drove her to the pharmacy in a rental car. Both Tew and Hollingsworth were arrested. The car was towed and an inventory search conducted. Police found cash, pills, fake id’s, blank prescriptions, and fraudulent prescriptions. Further investigation revealed that the Defendants were passing at least one fraudulent prescription per day.
Defendants recruited many individuals to pass the prescriptions and generally paid the prescription passers 30 pills for their efforts. Merritt, having good computer skills, was the primary manufacturer of the fraudulent prescriptions.
The case was investigated by agents of the federal Drug Enforcement (DEA). Assistant United States Attorney Bill Watkins of the Greenville office handled the case.The DEA encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.