Pembroke doctor sentenced to 20 years for distributing oxycodone

RALEIGH – A Pembroke physician was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday.

The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon Jr., announced Monday that, Donovan Dave Dixon, 51, a resident of of Fayetteville was sentenced to 240 months of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release by Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever III.

Dixon, who was a licensed medical doctor at the time of the offense, was convicted after a four-day trial of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute oxycodone and 20 counts of unlawful distribution of oxycodone outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.

The evidence at trial showed that Dixon was a licensed medical doctor who operated a family medical practice in Pembroke from 2012 until April 6, 2015, when his ability to prescribe controlled substances was limited by the North Carolina Medical Board.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tactical Diversion Squad based in Charlotte began investigating Dixon when they noticed that four of the top 10 oxycodone prescribing pharmacies for the state of North Carolina were located in the Lumberton area.

The local pharmacists, as well as local and state law enforcement, identified Dixon as the likely cause.

At trial, the evidence showed that Dixon prescribed high strength, high dosage amounts of oxycodone with little or no medical examination. Multiple witnesses testified that they had never even met Dixon despite the fact that hundreds of prescriptions had been issued in their name. A local drug dealer testified that Dixon wrote prescriptions for oxycodone in the name of persons that he provided to Dixon in exchange for cash. The prescription drugs were then sold on the streets of Robeson County by the drug dealer.

“The United States Department of Justice is aggressively moving against all individuals who illegally distribute opioids and prescription drugs,” Higdon said. “Whether those illegally pushing these drugs are on the street or operating from a doctor’s office, we will pursue you, charge you and convict you for the crimes that are putting our citizens at risk.”

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tactical Diversion Squad. Assistance was also provided by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Diversion and Environmental Crime Unit, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, the Fayetteville Police Department, and the North Carolina Medical Board.

Assistant United States Attorney Lawrence J. Cameron represented the government in this case.