Federal Judge Will Hold Prescription Drug Conspiracy Trial In Casper
The federal trial of the defendants in an alleged multistate prescription drug conspiracy run by a Casper doctor will happen in Casper in October, according to court records filed Monday.
And U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson on Monday denied a request by one of the defendants to be released on bond before the trial scheduled for Oct. 2.
Johnson is based in Cheyenne, and the trial of the four defendants was to be held there.
But attorneys for the prosecution and the defendants wanted the trial in Casper because so many of the witnesses live in Natrona County.
Monday, Johnson granted their requests. Johnson will still preside over the trial, which may take at least two weeks.
The complex case started in Wyoming more than a year ago when the Wyoming State Board of Pharmacy asked the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to investigate Kahn, who was issuing large prescriptions for controlled substances under two DEA licenses in Arizona and Wyoming. The Arizona and Wyoming boards of medicine subsequently suspended Kahn's medical licenses for prescribing controlled substances outside the standard of care.
Customers allegedly paid Shakeel and Lyn Kahn $500 in cash for a prescription for a month, and sign a contract stating they would not call Shakeel Kahn a drug dealer. Customers often would resell the drugs.
Shakeel and Lyn Kahn were arrested at their house on Thorndike Avenue in Casper on Nov. 30, and initially charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.
They and Paul Beland were later indicted on 20 counts including conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and alprazolam (the generic form of Xanax); dispensing of oxycodone; possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and aid and abet; unlawful use of a communication facility; dispensing of oxycodone and aid and abet; and engaging in monetary transactions derived from criminal activity.
If convicted on all counts, they face up to 20 years imprisonment. Shakeel Kahn also was charged with running a prescription drug criminal enterprise. If convicted on that count alone, he faces between 20 years and life imprisonment.
In April, Kahn's brother, Nabeel Aziz "Sonny" Kahn (sometimes spelled Khan) was arrested in Arizona for conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, and then transferred to Wyoming.
In May, prosecutors charged Shakeel Kahn with an additional count of possessing firearms in furtherance of a federal drug trafficking crime, and charged Nabeel Khan with using, carrying and brandishing a gun during a federal drug trafficking crime.
If convicted of any other charges against them, the firearms charges trigger an automatic five-year consecutive prison term for Shakeel Kahn, and an automatic seven-year consecutive prison term for Nabeel Khan.
All defendants remain in custody.
However, Beland recently asked the court to be released on bond before trial because he has access to an addiction treatment program and he would not pose a danger to the community.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Sprecher responded Beland's past criminal history and drug abuse indicated he probably would pose a risk to the community.
Monday, Johnson agreed with Sprecher and ordered Beland's continued detention.