Federal Appellate Court Upholds Former Casper Doctor’s Drug Conspiracy Verdict
A former Casper doctor and his brother who distributed millions of opioids and other drugs and laundered the proceeds lost the appeal of his conviction and sentence last week.
The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the verdict and 25-year sentence of Dr. Shakeel Kahn, who was convicted after a 20-day trial in May 2019 of a massive prescription drug conspiracy resulting in death, a firearms count, other drug conspiracy counts, and running a continuing criminal enterprise.
Shakeel’s brother, Nabeel Khan, was convicted of the drug conspiracy resulting in death and a firearms count. The brothers had filed joint appeals, and the three appellate judges combined their appeals into one ruling.
Other defendants including Shakeel’s wife pleaded guilty before the 20-day trial in May 2019.
In late 2016, federal authorities searched the Kahns’ properties in Casper and Arizona, and seized financial and business records, cars, firearms and more than $1 million in cash.
After his sentencing, Shakeel Kahn appealed, arguing that the search warrants violated the Fourth Amendment; that he was wrongfully convicted under the laws about prescribing controlled substances; that the judge did not properly instruct the jury about his and Nabeel Kahn’s acting in good faith; the judge did not properly instruct the jury on his intent; and that the evidence was not sufficient to convict Nabeel of conspiracy.
In January, attorneys for the prosecution and the Kahns argued the case before the appellate court, and the judges ruled the evidence presented in the Wyoming federal court trial was overwhelming in proving the Kahns’ guilt.
The verdict in May 2019 ended a three-year investigation after the Wyoming Board of Pharmacy had questions about Shakeel Kahn's apparent prescribing high amounts and doses of painkillers that seemed to be outside the usual standard of care.
Federal and state law enforcement agencies took over in the spring of 2016.
Prosecutors filed an initial criminal complaint against defendant Paul Beland in November 2016.
The crimes from January 2011 through November 2016 comprised the heart of the first count of the 23-count indictment with the Kahn brothers and three other co-conspirators -- Shakeel's wife Lyn, Shawnna Thacker and Beland. Those three co-conspirators pleaded guilty to this and other charges in exchange for testifying for the prosecution and reduced sentences.
Included in the conspiracy count for the Kahns was the charge that their distribution of those drugs resulted in the death of Arizona resident Jessica Burch in 2015.
The other crime with the stiffest penalty facing Shakeel Kahn was operating a continuing criminal enterprise, conviction of which was punishable by 20 years to life imprisonment.
The indictment also named five counts of dispensing oxycodone, three counts of possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and aid and abet, six counts of unlawful use of a communication facility, three counts of dispensing oxycodone and aid and abet, and two counts of money laundering.
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