DELHI — A former Covidien plant worker was arraigned Tuesday on a top-grade felony charge after authorities accused him of taking oxycodone out of the plant and selling it to his half-brother — who is now cooperating with investigators.
Jason Wilsey, 33, of Davenport, turned himself in at the Delaware County courthouse, where he was arraigned on a charge of first-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance — two ounces of oxycodone. The powdery substance is the main ingredient in the highly potent pharmaceutical brand-name prescription drug OxyContin.
The case against him, officials said, is at least partially based on the claims of his half-brother, Robert Wilsey of Harpersfield, a convicted sex offender and father of four daughters charged with trafficking in oxycodone two weeks ago.
Jason Wilsey had been employed at Covidien’s Hobart plant for 10 years and has a clean criminal record, said his attorney, Michael A. Jacobs of Stamford. The lawyer said the last time Jason Wilsey was in trouble, he was 12 years old. He did not elaborate on the nature of that incident.
“He maintains his innocence, absolutely,” Jacobs said. “His family is bailing him out right now. As far as we can tell, this was brought on by the half-brother. This is called: ‘Let’s blame someone else so I don’t have to spend a lot of time in the state penitentiary again.’”
Jason Wilsey, joined at the courthouse by about a dozen relatives, was released on $50,000 bail by state Supreme Court Justice Carl Becker. The judge spurned a request by Jacobs to set the bail amount at $7,500. Delaware County District Attorney Richard D. Northrup had argued that Jason Wilsey posed a risk of absconding, and asked he be jailed without bail.
Authorities alleged that Jason Wilsey gained access to oxycodone through his job in the mixing room at the Covidien plant.
The charges against both half-brothers grew out of a lengthy investigation by the Delaware and Otsego county sheriff’s departments, in conjunction with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Delaware County Undersheriff Craig DuMond said.
The investigation revealed that Jason Wilsey was the source of approximately five ounces of oxycodone seized from the home of Robert Wilsey on Dec. 21, DuMond said. Jason Wilsey, he added, was still employed at Covidien at that time.
Jason Wilsey is also suspected of being the conduit for Covidien-manufactured oxycodone that Hobart-based drug dealer Dante Major, 36, had been selling before he was taken into custody in Cooperstown last March, DuMond said. Major was sentenced last week in Otsego County court to 55 years to life in state prison.
The undersheriff said Covidien has been working to step up its anti-theft measures at its Hobart facility. The arrest of Jason Wilsey, he said, should serve as a message to Covidien employees that serious consequences await anyone who diverts pharmaceutical drugs from the plant.
“We are extremely proud of the efforts and the partnerships developed by the multijurisdictional team involved in this investigation and will continue to diligently support each other as we carry on our work into the future,” DuMond said.
Northrup said the investigation marks a significant step in the ongoing effort to curb illicit trafficking in dangerous pharmaceutical drugs. “We’ve had a problem with abuse of prescription drugs in local communities for years,” the prosecutor said.
Robert Wilsey, 40, served time in state prison after being convicted in 2001 of raping and sodomizing a 14-year-old girl in Delaware County.
Jason Wilsey’s relatives declined to comment on the case as they left the courthouse.