Federal Judge Orders Custody For Alleged Prescription Drug Conspirator
A federal judge on Monday ordered the detention of a former Wyoming resident charged in a prescription drug conspiracy, according to court records.
U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Kelly Rankin agreed with prosecutors that Paul Beland should be held in custody pending trial because of a possible sentence of 10 years or longer, the lack of a guarantee that he would appear for future court dates if he were released, and the safety of the community could not be guaranteed if he were released.
Beland was an early target of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency investigation of Dr. Shakeel Kahn who wrote large prescriptions for controlled substances, according to an affidavit filed about him on Nov. 9.
Rankin also ordered Beland held because of weight of the evidence against him, his prior criminal history, his participation in criminal activity while on probation, a history of violence or use of weapons, and a history of alcohol or substance abuse.
Beland did not contest the reasons for the judge's order, according to minutes of the hearing in Cheyenne on Friday.
From January through August 2016, Kahn and his wife, Lyn, received wire transfers totaling $9,750 from Beland, who wired them from where he lived in Massachusetts, according to the affidavit. “Investigators subsequently conducted an analysis of Beland’s phone records and discovered that Beland is also linked to a heroin supplier in Massachusetts which DEA is currently investigating.”
Investigators also learned Beland recruited people from his family and referred them to Kahn, and he would fly from Massachusetts to Casper to obtain prescriptions of controlled substances from Kahn.
For example, Beland filled two prescriptions — 300 oxycodone 30 milligram and 120 methadone 10mg — on Oct. 1. Depending on market forces, 1 mg of oxycodone is worth about $1 on the street, so a bottle of 300 30mg pills could be worth about $9,000.
Authorities arrested Beland at the Casper-Natrona County International Airport on Oct. 2 for an outstanding warrant for a probation violation in Laramie County.
After his arrest, he was released on bond and returned to his home in south central Massachusetts. In November federal agents arrested him and charged him with one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone. A federal judge in Massachusetts transferred the case to Wyoming.
Shakeel and Lyn Kahn were arrested Nov. 30 and are free on bond.