Report: US Marshals arrest doctor, wife in NWFL for illegally distributing pills
by Kristie Henderson
November 15th 2019
SANTA ROSA COUNTY, Fla. (WEAR) — A couple has been arrested in Santa Rosa County after an affidavit states the husband wrote prescriptions for his patients, but only if they split it with his wife.
The investigation was first launched when authorities responded to a death investigation in Virginia on February 14th.
While inside the home, authorities found syringes containing a liquid substance, sterile alcohol pads, and prescription bottles of Oxycontin for both the deceased man and his adult son. The affidavit says the drugs were prescribed by Dr. David Francis Lelio, who the son said was his psychiatrist and a family friend.
The son told investigators that he and his dad fell asleep watching television and woke up to find his father unresponsive. The affidavit says the son admitted to calling Lelio, who said to call 911.
He added that he had been friends with Lelio’s wife, Nadja Siiri Kujanson-Lelio, for 10 years and that she lived with Lelio in North Carolina.
The affidavit mentions Lelio did a lot of pro bono work for his patients and that he couldn’t charge anyone until June 2019, which the son said helped him out.
Lelio arrived at the deceased patient’s home while authorities were continuing to investigate the area. When asked about the pro bono and if he is seeing all of his 30 patients for free, he stated “correct.”
A warrant was executed inside the Virginia home, which the affidavit says resulted in the seizure of 14 grams of suspected heroin, suspected marijuana, drug paraphernalia, medication prescribed by Lelio, and unfilled prescriptions by Lelio.
An autopsy was later conducted on the father, which determined the cause of death as acute fentanyl and heroin intoxication.
SON OF DECEASED MAN SPEAKS WITH SHERIFF’S OFFICE
In an interview with authorities, the son said he started seeing Lelio in 2016 or 2017 for pain after being involved in a vehicle accident. The affidavit claims Lelio approached the man with an offering, saying, “I will write this prescription for you, but you have to give my wife this.”
The man stated in the affidavit that Lelio told him that he would increase his dose and that he would have to give his wife, Kujanson-Lelio, half of the prescriptions. The man said he started to receive 60 pills of 10mg oxycodone and would get half of the prescription back, the affidavit says.
He says the prescription soon changed to 20mg oxycodone, but he still had to give Kujanson-Lelio half.
The man also claims that he would go see Lelio at his North Carolina home, where he practiced, and would tell him, “Your prescriptions are on the desk,” court documents say.
The affidavit states the son’s father’s prescriptions were split between himself, his dad, and Kujanson-Lelio.
SHERIFF’S OFFICE SPEAKS WITH LELIO ON ALLEGATIONS
Authorities spoke with Lelio to ask him about the allegations that his patient made.
Lelio said he has worked in Illinois, North Carolina and recently obtained a license to practice in Florida.
According to the affidavit, when asked if any pills he prescribed were coming back to him or his wife, Lelio stated “no.”
The affidavit also mentions that Lelio said he doesn’t think his wife has taken any drugs from the deceased man’s prescriptions or the son’s prescriptions.
He added that neither of the men had been prescribed oxycodone during their first visits with him and that the son stopped seeing Lelio after his father’s death.
TEXT CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN KUJANSON-LELIO & LELIO’S PATIENT
Shortly after the father’s death, a warrant was executed on the son’s cell phone. According to the affidavit, he was in contact with Kujanson-Lelio at least 363 times.
Authorities with the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office found several texts between the man and woman referencing drugs less than a month before the father’s death:
[EDITOR’S NOTE: The ‘—‘ in between text messages means that this is a new text conversation on a different day]
Patient to Nadja, “where did I put that pot?”
Nadja to patient, “Not sure what u did with it. I double or triple bagged it. Did u check your toolbox on the truck?”
In part, one text conversation said:
Nadja to patient, “If at all possible can we chat between 1:45 and 2:30 tomorrow, D will be at the bank for a 2 pm appointment.
Patient to Nadja, “About drugs.”
Patient to Nadja, “How many could I borrow. We’re out.”
Nadja to patient, “When’s the next script due?”
Nadja to patient, “Hope u are close, turning my phone off, will put your pills in your room w/everything else!! GO TEAM DAVE!”
Patient to Nadja, “Can u unlock the door. I’ll be there in 30”
Nadja to patient, “Hopefully the 6 and the other I think it was 2 will take u two through Monday. I hope it’s okay, I kept 2 pinks and 1 blue for myself.”
Patient to Nadja, “Do you need a few adds sent home.”
Nadja to patient, “If you can yes…And I’m also gonna have to take Valium for another day or 2, and still need to get s*** done. It’s stupid muscle tightness from pain which the oxy doesn’t do crap for.”
Patient to Nadja, “Yep. Split it 3 ways.”
Nadja to patient, “Did D give you the rest of the sticky?”
Patient to Nadja, “He did, what made u send so much. I thought it was gonna be a nuggie or 2”
ANOTHER LELIO PATIENT SPEAKS WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT
Investigators spoke with another patient of Lelio unrelated to the incident. When asked if Lelio ever prescribed her opioids, she said that Lelio prescribed them in her name, but they were not meant for her, but his wife. She said that she did it as a favor because she knew Kujanson-Lelio had several knee surgeries and was in a lot of pain, the affidavit claims.
“You know how much pain I’m in. Would you do me a huge favor and let Dave write you, write you the prescription for the opioids and then give’em to me?” the patient quoted what she was told. The drug was oxycodone.
She added the prescriptions weren’t written during her appointments with Lelio.
ARREST IN SANTA ROSA COUNTY
The husband and wife were arrested in Santa Rosa County on November 6th on a federal warrant out of western Virginia and placed in the Santa Rosa County Jail.
Both Lelio and Kujanson-Lelio appeared in a Virginia court on Thursday. They are both out on bond.
The two have been charged with conspiracy to illegally distribute a controlled substance, illegal distribution of a controlled substance, and false statements.