Just over a year after being arrested, former Health Minister, Dr Noel Blackman has been sentenced to 50 months’ imprisonment for writing a number of illegal prescriptions for the narcotics-based painkiller ‘Oxycodone’; and ordered to forfeit US$536,200 in illegal proceeds.
The sentence, handed down by a New York Court on Friday, will also see him being subjected to three years’ supervision after his release from prison.
A former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and a People’s National Congress (PNC) Executive member, Blackman, who became embroiled in the ‘Oxycodone’ conspiracy back in 2016, pleaded guilty to his indictments before Judge Joanna Seybery, before whom he stood following his arrest.
He was jointly charged with Wascar Castillo, the former office manager of a Queens pain management office where Blackman previously worked. The charges they faced related to conspiracy to distribute, and distribution of, oxycodone. Castillo was also jailed for 36 months back in March 31, 2017.
Blackman was set to be sentenced since February, but his lawyer had moved to the court to have sentencing pushed back to a later date.
Federal authorities in the United States arrested the 68-year-old doctor in February of last year, shortly after he was appointed Chairman of the GPHC Board.
The former Health Minister under the PNC Administration was arrested for his alleged involvement in a prescription drug-dealing enterprise across three States. US federal authorities said he was illegally prescribing vast amounts of oxycodone – 365,000 pills in 2015 – in a drug-dealing enterprise spanning three States.
Agents took Blackman into custody after they ordered a Guyana-bound jet taxiing for take-off with him on board to return to the airport terminal. Under investigation for several weeks, Blackman was intent on permanently leaving the United States, according to a tip agents received before they headed him off at the airport. After the plane returned to the terminal, he was arrested and later charged with conspiracy to distribute the narcotic.
Federal agents with Homeland Security Investigations also found $30,000 in cash stashed in his luggage, officials had said.
According to Blackman’s prescription records checked by federal authorities, the 365,000 oxycodone pills came from 2487 prescriptions – a marked increase from the 114 he wrote for 3800 pills in 2014, and the 63 he wrote in 2013 for 2100 pills.
Blackman, who is also co-owner of HBTV Channel 9 in Guyana, had offices in Franklin Square; in Elmhurst, Queens, and in Brooklyn. Until his arrest, Blackman had practised surgery and pain management from offices in Franklin Square, Elmhurst and Brooklyn, and most recently lived in Far Rockaway, but was a long-time resident of Valley Stream.
Blackman’s arrest was said to be the latest in a string of cases involving Long Island doctors charged with illegally doling out highly addictive prescription painkillers.