Two More Prescription Drug Defendants Sentenced; Two More Arrested
Two defendants in a local drug case received sentences Wednesday on charges related to the alleged multi-state prescription drug conspiracy organized by former Casper Dr. Shakeel Kahn.
Meanwhile, two other defendants in the same case were arrested and now face trial.
Natrona County District Court Judge Daniel Forgey sentenced Wilemina Longtine to a suspended two- to four-year prison term and one to five years of supervised probation for conspiracy to distribute a Schedule II drug (oxycodone). The state dismissed charges of conspiracy to distribute a Schedule IV drug (alprazolam) and conspiracy to distribute heroin when she pleaded guilty earlier this year.
If Longtine completes probation, the case will be dismissed, Forgey added.
Her public defender Kerri Johnson said Longtine has a limited criminal history. She was addicted to opioids and quit them, Johnson said. But in 2012 she had surgery, and met defendant Melissa Bishop, another defender in the case, who supplied her with painkillers that restarted her addiction.
Forgey also sentenced Martha Zitterkopf to a suspended three-year prison term, and placed her on three to five years of supervised probation for conspiracy to deliver Schedule II and Schedule IV drugs.
Her public defender Rob Oldham to Forgey that Zitterkopf lost her house and suffered other consequences including her health as a result of her crimes.
Zitterkopf, who wore an oxygen tank, told Forgey in a raspy voice, "I'm just trying to get my life back together. I'm sorry."
After the hearing, Assistant District Attorney Trevor Schenk said two defendants named in the original criminal complaint were recently arrested for their roles in the conspiracy. Both are charged with conspiracy to deliver Schedule II and Schedule IV drugs.
Faith Washakie and Joseph Washakie waived their preliminary hearings on Tuesday and were bound over for trial in district court, Schenk said.
Three other defendants named in the 15-defendant case have yet to be arrested: Louis Arrazola -- conspiracy to distribute heroin; Findesio "Fil" Flores -- conspiracy to deliver Schedule II and Schedule IV drugs, and conspiracy to deliver heroin; and Jerry Welch -- conspiracy to deliver heroin.
Local, state and federal agencies discovered Zitterkopf, Longtine and the other defendants during the investigation of Kahn and his wife, Lyn, who are charged in federal court with multiple counts, according to court documents.
An affidavit filed by an agent with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation says the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration began investigating Kahn after reports he was prescribing excessive amounts of controlled substances, mostly opiates, in Natrona County. However, the DEA found people would travel from Fremont County and as far away as Massachusetts to obtain prescriptions.
As the DEA's investigation progressed, the DCI learned from a patient of Kahn that people would pay $500 in cash a month to him for whatever prescription they wanted.
During the investigation, Zitterkopf, told law enforcement agents about paying for prescriptions of oxycodone, plus signing a contract stating she would not call the Kahns drug dealers.
But Zitterkopf did just that during her interview when she told agents, "'the new doctor is the biggest drug dealer as far as she is concerned,'" according to the affidavit.
Kahn sometimes would fax the prescriptions to a Vape World, 211 E. 12th St., which was operated by his stepchildren. The store is now closed.
The Kahns themselves were arrested at their home in Casper on Nov. 30.
They and other defendants Paul Beland, and Shakeel Kahn's brother, Nabeel, remain in custody awaiting trial in federal court.
They face charges including drug conspiracy distribution, use of communications in drug distribution, firearms charges, and operating a continuing criminal enterprise.