CASPER, Wyo. (RELEASE) - United States Attorney’s Office today announced the sentencing of Shakeel Kahn and his brother Nabeel Kahn on federal charges of operating a continuing criminal enterprise and conspiring to distribute prescription medications, which resulted in the death Jessica Burch.
The sentencing follows a nearly four week trial that concluded in May 2019.
Shakeel and Nabeel Kahn were sentenced by United States District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson. Shakeel A. Kahn, (53) received a 25 year sentence for counts including drug distribution resulting in death, operating a continuing criminal enterprise, and the use of a firearm in furtherance of a federal drug trafficking crime. Nabeel Aziz “Sonny” Kahn (46), received a 15 year sentence, including a 5 year consecutive sentence for use of a firearm in furtherance of a federal drug trafficking crime.
“This is a substantial sentence that reflects the severity of the offenses in this case,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Klaassen. “In concert with the ongoing nationwide effort to combat opioid abuse, my office will continue to focus on stemming the tide of illegally prescribed drugs. These are particularly addictive and dangerous drugs that must be used with care, and we must ensure the integrity of the prescribing process to prevent abuse,” said Klaassen. “I appreciate the effort of the DEA diversion team in the investigation of this case.”
Numerous other defendants were charged and convicted in State court on drug trafficking charges for their involvement in selling prescription medications received through Shakeel Kahn’s practice.
The investigation of this case began in April 2016, based on a complaint from the Wyoming Board of Pharmacy indicating Shakeel Kahn was prescribing large amounts of controlled substances under two DEA registration numbers – one in Arizona and one in Wyoming. Trial testimony revealed that the Kahn drug distribution organization was unlawfully prescribing opioids in small rural communities located in and around Fort Mohave, Arizona; Casper, Wyoming; and the Wind River Indian Reservation between January of 2011 and December of 2016.
Shakeel Kahn purported to be a pain management physician. He targeted vulnerable addicts as customers. They received prescriptions for highly addictive opioids at rapidly escalating volume and in potentially deadly combination with other drugs. It was not uncommon for customers to pay as much as $4,000 per month to Kahn in exchange for the prescription opioids. The patients who received the medications often had no visible source of income that would allow them to afford the prescriptions – other than what they were earning re-selling the drugs on the street. Tragically, at least one patient, Jessica Burch, died as a result of an overdose of medications received from Shakeel Kahn’s practice.
This case was investigated with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.