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New York - A Long Island, New York, medical doctor and the former Health Minister of Guyana, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to illegally distribute oxycodone, a highly addictive prescription pain medication.  The guilty plea follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) in New York, the United States Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Long Island Tactical Diversion Squad, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Noel Blackman, operated “pain management” clinics throughout the metropolitan area.  According to court filings and statements made in court during the guilty plea, Blackman wrote prescriptions for more than 365,000 oxycodone pills in a two-year period. HSI special agents arrested Blackman in connection with the conspiracy to illegally distribute oxycodone. At the time of his arrest, more than $30,000 was found concealed in his luggage.  Blackman admitted that, in exchange for cash, he wrote oxycodone prescriptions for people who had no legitimate medical need. 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. HSI, in conjunction with the Eastern District of New York (EDNY), the Nassau and Suffolk County Police Departments, the New York City Police Department, and New York State Police, along with other federal, state, and local government partners, launched the initiative to mount a comprehensive response to what the United States Department of Health and Human Services Center for Disease Control and Prevention has called an epidemic increase in the abuse of opioid analgesics.

To date, the initiative has brought over 160 federal and local criminal prosecutions, including the prosecution of 19 health care professionals, taken civil enforcement actions against a hospital, a pharmacy, and a pharmacy chain, removed prescription authority from numerous rogue doctors, and expanded information-sharing among enforcement agencies to better target and pursue drug traffickers. The initiative also is involved in an extensive community outreach program to address the abuse of pharmaceuticals.

When sentenced, Blackman faces a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and a $1 million fine.