Judge Keeps Casper Drug Conspiracy Defendant In Detention
A federal judge denied a request for release from detention by the brother of a former Casper doctor charged in a multi-state prescription drug conspiracy.
U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson said Nabeel Aziz "Sonny" Khan should not be released from custody pending his trial because of the serious charges filed against him, because he is a flight risk, and because he poses a danger to the community, according to his order last week.
Nabeel Khan (sometimes spelled Kahn) also offered few if any reasonable arguments for his release before he and co-defendants are scheduled to go on trial in Casper on Oct. 2. An appeal in the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals may delay the trial.
He is the brother of Dr. Shakeel Kahn, and is a co-defendant with Shakeel Kahn's wife Lyn Kahn and former Wyoming resident Paul Beland, who were indicted earlier this year. The indictment lists 23 counts including drug distribution, conspiracy, use of communications in a drug conspiracy, possession and use of firearms, use of money in illegal activities, and engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise.
Nabeel Kahn was arrested in Arizona on April 18, and was initially charged with one count of conspiracy to distributed oxycodone and alprazolam (the generic for Xanax).
But on May 19, the government charged him and Shakeel Kahn with firearms crimes in an indictment that supercedes the previous one.
If convicted of any other charges against them, the firearms charges trigger an automatic five-year consecutive prison term for Shakeel Kahn, and an automatic seven-year consecutive prison term for Nabeel Khan.
Johnson wrote U.S. Magistrate Judge Kelly Rankin ordered him detained on May 30 because there were no conditions that would reasonably ensure the safety of others or that he would appear at future court hearings.
Likewise, he could face a prison term of 10 years if convicted on the drug charge, and the automatic seven-year prison term for the firearms charge, Johnson wrote.
The judge also noted Nabeel Khan's weak ties to the United States and even weaker ties to Wyoming that could pose a flight risk: he was born and raised in Canada; his brother and father live in Canada; he does not have a home in the United States; his only family in the United States are co-defendants Shakeel and Lyn Kahn; he possessed identification documents with a name other than his own; and he has been employed only minimally in the United States.
Nabeel Khan also poses a threat to others based on the prosecutor's objection to his release, Johnson wrote.
"At the hearing, the Government asserted it has multiple witnesses prepared to testify at trial that Nabeel Kahn repeatedly displayed various firearms while acting in some sort of security/enforcer/front desk capacity while at Dr. Shakeel Kahn's medical office, and the Court considers this alleged conduct to represent a serious danger to other persons," Johnson wrote.