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Oxycodone ring leader gets 15 years, to forfeit over $1.2M

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Updated: 1/03/2013 2:24 pm
LAS VEGAS – A Las Vegas man who operated an illegal drug trafficking organization that transported prescription drugs from Las Vegas to Anchorage, Homer, Kenai, Soldotna and Wasilla, Alaska, and laundered more than $1 million through bank accounts in Las Vegas, was sentenced today to 15 years in prison for his guilty pleas to conspiracy, drug and money laundering charges.

Nicholas Ghafouria, 28, also was ordered to forfeit more than $1.2 million in cash and property, and must serve three years of supervised release after his release from prison.

Ghafouria pleaded guilty Oct. 1 and was the last of the 27 defendants charged in the scheme to be sentenced, most of whom were sentenced to prison. Nineteen of those defendants were from Alaska; eight were from Las Vegas.

“Over the last several years, we have been working with state and local law enforcement and health care providers to attack the growing prescription drug abuse problem in Nevada,” said Daniel G. Bogden, U.S. attorney for the District of Nevada. “Since January 2010, over 100 individuals, including four doctors and a pharmacist, have been charged in Nevada with unlawfully distributing highly addictive prescription painkillers.”

Between May 2009 and October 2010, Ghafouria organized and led a group of individuals who distributed more than 4,000 oxycodone pills in Alaska and laundered at least $1.2 million in cash proceeds from the unlawful distribution of the drugs.

Ghafouria and his co-conspirators used various ways to get the drugs to Alaska, including sending them in packages and transporting them on airplane flights.

Ghafouria sold the pills for approximately $65 each in Alaska. Co-conspirators in Alaska either provided money directly to couriers who delivered it to Ghafouria in Las Vegas, or they deposited money into bank accounts in Alaska which was withdrawn in Las Vegas by individuals under Ghafouria’s direction.

-- From news release
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