Wilmington physician convicted of illegally distributing oxycodone


A federal jury convicted Charles Esham, a 60-year-old Wilmington physician, on charges of conspiracy to distribute and distribution of oxycodone.

According to court records and evidence presented during the six-day trial, Esham issued oxycodone prescriptions to five individuals outside the course of usual professional practice over several years. Many of these oxycodone pills were not taken by the people to whom they were prescribed but were instead illegally diverted and sold for profit.

U.S. Attorney David Weiss stated, “In the midst of an opioid epidemic, Esham abandoned his role as a doctor and effectively handed over his prescription pad to a drug trafficking ring. The jury’s verdict serves as a warning to doctors who betray the solemn trust that our society places in them: when doctors facilitate and enable drug abuse, they must be held accountable.”

Esham faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each count when sentenced in April 2020. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.

This case was investigated by DEA’s Wilmington Resident Office.

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