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Evidence hearing set for Utah fire chief accused of prescription fraud

Published August 23, 2013 10:19 am

Courts • The two men are facing felony drug charges in separate cases.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A Unified Fire Authority assistant chief charged with obtaining prescription drugs under false pretenses will hear the evidence in the case against him in October.

Assistant Chief Marlon Don Jones is charged in 3rd District Court with 14 counts of third-degree felony falsely obtaining prescriptions. Each count carries a possible sentence of up to five years in state prison.

A judge will hear evidence at an Oct. 10 preliminary hearing, then determine if Jones should be ordered to stand trial.

Cottonwood Heights police began investigating Jones, 48, after the agency was asked to look into irregularities and discrepancies concerning UFA's supply of controlled substances, according to a UFA statement. In doing so, investigators began exploring the drug histories of UFA employees.

Jones was found to have a large number of prescriptions for several highly-addictive controlled substances from various pharmacies, including hydrocodone and carisoprodol, which are pain killers, and zolpidem, a sleep aid, according to court documents.

The prescriptions Jones used had been issued by three doctors, at least two of whom did not know Jones had been prescribed drugs from other physicians.

Jones initially admitted to taking the pain relievers Celebrex and Lortab infrequently and only as needed. After he was confronted about his prescription drug history, Jones acknowledged taking pain medication three times a day, documents state.

Investigators suspect Jones was receiving the prescriptions for about a year.

Although UFA had an ongoing investigation into missing drug supplies, UFA Chief Michael Jensen has said the charges against Jones are unrelated.

Jensen added that Jones — who has been a county fire employee for 24 years — was a good employee, and that no one suspected he had a drug-abuse problem.

Jones has no prior criminal history, according to a search of Utah court records. He was promoted in January from a battalion chief to the position of assistant chief, according to a UFA board agenda notice.

He has been on paid administrative leave since he was charged.

mlang@sltrib.com

Twitter: @Marissa_Jae