The leader of a drug ring who recruited people suffering from sickle-cell anemia to obtain thousands of false prescriptions for OxyContin was sentenced in federal court to ten years in prison late Tuesday afternoon.
Yusef Shabazz, of upstate Middletown, New York, ran the drug ring for at least three years — from May 2005 through July 2008, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan. The sickle-cell patients recruited by the 69-year-old Shabazz went to different Manhattan doctors each month seeking treatment. The patients often used aliases and false social security numbers to obtain OxyContin and Dilaudid. They turned the painkillers over to Shabazz, who then sold them to drug dealers in the city.
Shabazz pled guilty to one count, narcotics conspiracy. Three others in the ring have also pled guilty. Two of them, Damien Hall and Jacqueline Mason, were sentenced in June to lesser terms. Defendant David Hall awaits sentencing.
Details of the scheme, including the identities of the patients and doctors, haven’t been revealed yet.