Former Brighton pharmacist sentenced to 15 years in oxycodone-trafficking ring case

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By The Staff

DENVER — A former Brighton pharmacist was sentenced to 15 years in prison following his indictment and conviction in an oxycodone drug-trafficking case.

Jeffrey Clawson, the former owner of Platte Valley Family Pharmacy in Brighton, was remanded to the custody of the Adams County Sheriff following sentencing Friday, Jan. 31. He will serve his term at Adams County Community Corrections, according to a release announcing his sentencing from the Colorado Attorney General's Office.

Clawson was indicted in January 2013 along with 14 others accused of fraudulently acquiring, diverting and distributing large amounts of oxycodone in the Denver-metro area as well as in Oklahoma. In addition to Colorado, the ring attempted to have fraudulent prescriptions filled for sale in Oklahoma and Kansas.

In April 2013, he relinquished his pharmacy license to the Colorado Pharmacy Board and agreed to cease working in any pharmacy outlet or other pharmaceutical business.

“We are pleased that justice was served on a corrupt pharmacist who contributed to Colorado’s prescription-drug abuse epidemic,” said Deputy Attorney General Matthew Durkin. “On a per capita basis, Colorado is now second in the nation for painkiller abuse and the takeaway is that a statewide, multi-disciplinary approach to addressing this problem is necessary.”

The other 14 people named in the Attorney General’s Office 43-count indictment have also been sentenced. The ring’s other key orchestrator, Robin Steinke, is serving a15-year sentence with the Department of Corrections. The other key prosecutions resulted in Celeste Deherrera serving a four-year sentence with the Department of Corrections. Additionally, Christopher Gemeinhardt is currently on intensive supervised probation with Adams County Probation. Shawna Lawley received a community-based sentence from which she absconded. She is currently wanted by law enforcement. Joel Barr received intensive supervised probation. The other named defendants have had their cases successfully resolved.

These cases were all prosecuted in Adams County District Court by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office and the Adams County District Attorney’s Office. The DEA was instrumental in the post-indictment investigation.