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Former Health Minister’s sentencing deferred to February

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The sentencing of a Former Health Minister, Dr. Noel Blackman, has been pushed back from January 06, 2017 to February 10, 2017, because of the unavailability of a New York court.

He will be appearing before Judge Joanna Seybert. According to the Department of Justice, New York, when sentenced, Blackman faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a $1 million fine.

On August 24, 2016, Blackman, a medical doctor and the former Health Minister of Guyana, who operated from “pain management” clinics in Elmhurst in Queens County, Franklin Square in Nassau County, and Cypress Hills in Brooklyn, pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegally distribute oxycodone, a highly addictive prescription pain medication.

The guilty plea was entered before United States District Judge Joanna Seybert at the U.S. Courthouse in Central Islip.

In announcing the guilty plea, United States Attorney Robert L. Capers expressed his grateful appreciation to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the United States Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Long Island Tactical Diversion Squad, which led the government’s investigation in this case, and thanked the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) for its assistance.

“Blackman violated his professional oath to put his patients’ legitimate medical needs first and instead chose to line his pockets with the proceeds from the sale of illegal prescriptions for oxycodone, a highly addictive drug that has been linked to the rise in heroin trafficking and other social ills in our communities,” stated U.S. Attorney Capers.

According to court filings and statements made in court during the guilty plea, between 2015 and February 2016, Blackman wrote prescriptions for more than 365,000 oxycodone pills.

The former Health Minister was arrested on February 7, 2016, by HSI agents as he was about to board a plane at John F. Kennedy International Airport en route to Guyana. At the time of his arrest, more than $30,000 was found concealed in his luggage.

At his guilty plea, Blackman admitted that he wrote oxycodone prescriptions for persons whom he knew had no legitimate medical need for them in exchange for cash.  As part of his guilty plea, Blackman also agreed to forfeit $503,200 attributable to illegal prescription sales.

This case is but one in a series of federal prosecutions by the United States Attorney’s Office as part of the Prescription Drug Initiative which was launched in January 2012.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Bradley T. King and Madeline O’Connor.

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