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John Wesley Goss ran an elaborate oxycodone operation between September 2010 and June 2012.
The method he used to obtain pills is described in the federal plea agreement he signed on May 1.
According to the document, Goss managed a group of addicts who frequented pain clinics and pharmacies to obtain what is believed to be more than 200,000 pills of prescription pain medication.
“The defendant’s group of medication gatherers were mostly from Roane County, and primarily visited pain clinics in Chattanooga, including Superior One Medical Clinic, Elite Care Pain Clinic, Primary Care and Pain Clinic, and a clinic associated with Dr. Jerome Sherard,” the plea agreement said. “The defendant and his pill gatherers also visited various pharmacies between Chattanooga and Roane County.”
Goss financed the trips to the clinics and the costs for the prescription drugs.
The usual pill split between Goss and his pill gatherers was 50-50.
“The pill gatherers, who were all addicted to opiates, gathered pills for the defendant to obtain monthly quantities of oxycodone for free, and to ensure that additional quantities of oxycodone would be available in Roane County after their personal quantities ran out prior to their next clinic visit,” the plea deal said.
“The defendant was aware that all of the pill gatherers abused their medication by consuming excessive quantities at one time either orally, intravenously, or through nasal inhalation.”
Goss sold his portion of the pills for profit.
“The defendant also reinvested profits from pill sales into his organization to promote the continuation of the conspiracy and future profits,” the plea deal said.
Goss and his gatherers are believed to have obtained more than 200,000 oxycodone pills during the course of the conspiracy.
“The defendant had relationships with some clinic operators, including Faith Blake, Barbara Lang and some of their employees and medical providers, that allowed the defendant to arrange clinic visits for his pill gatherers, expedite their appointments, obtain preferential treatment, intercede on their behalf and otherwise facilitate the flow of controlled substances to them,” the plea deal said.
Goss would sometimes run out of money for clinic and pharmacy visits when he was in Chattanooga with his pill gatherers.
When that happened, the government said he would rely on his sister, Eva Hallene McNelley, to wire cash by MoneyGram or Western Union.
“The defendant and McNelley required other pill gatherers to send and receive the wire transfers, or use aliases, so as to protect themselves from law enforcement detection and to conceal the true nature of the transactions,” the plea deal said.
Goss was indicted by a federal grand jury last year. In June he pleaded guilty to money laundering and conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.
In exchange, the government will not oppose a two-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility under the sentencing guidelines.
Despite the agreement, Goss still faces years in prison at his sentencing, scheduled for Dec. 4 at the U.S. District Courthouse in Knoxville.
The government filed a superseding indictment against Sherard, Blake, Lang and Charles Larmore in June.
The cases against them are still pending.
The government alleges that Larmore was a nurse practitioner who provided Goss with drugs.
McNelley reached a deal with federal prosecutors and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone in April.
She’s scheduled to be sentenced next month.
McNelley had a leadership role in the organization.
“Because so many pill gatherers were utilized to make daily trips to the clinics, the logistics of operating the organization were extensive and time consuming,” her plea agreement said.
“Each pill gatherer was limited to a single visit to any particular clinic per month. Thus, the organization had to keep track of which pill gatherer was scheduled to visit a particular clinic on a particular day each month.
Additionally, the organization had to keep track of all the money used to fund each trip, the quantities and types of pills obtained during each trip, pill splits with pill gatherers, pill sales and distribution to customers in and around Roane County.”
McNelley coordinated trips and kept track of pills and money.
“The defendant also visited clinics in Chattanooga, personally led group trips to the Chattanooga clinics, and sold oxycodone pills on behalf of Goss,” her plea agreement said.
Many of the co-conspirators indicted along with Goss and McNelley have also pleaded guilty.