Federal agents charged a Queens doctor and one of his patients Wednesday with running an illegal oxycodone distribution ring in which they used prisoners’ names to illegally obtain the prescription painkillers.
Dr. Dalmacio Francisco, 75, of Jamaica and Michael Othman, 48, could wind up serving serious time themselves for working together to obtain large quantities of the opioid over the past five years. Prosecutors said Francisco would write monthly prescriptions of 180 oxycodone tablets for Othman and fellow patients whom he recruited.
When that wasn’t enough, authorities said, the doctor and patient used the names of incarcerated prisoners to secure additional quantities of the highly-addictive painkiller. Francisco allegedly provided the prescriptions electronically or in writing, and Othman allegedly traveled to pharmacies across Queens to have them filled.
Not even the COVID-19 pandemic slowed the scheme down, law enforcement sources said. Through electronic surveillance, agents determined that Francisco continued providing Othman prescriptions even after the doctor’s offices on Woodside Avenue in Woodside and Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst were closed to other patients due to the health crisis.
It’s believed that Othman received 59 oxycodone prescriptions from Francisco between April 2015 and the date of his arrest. The prescriptions were for 30mg immediate release oxycodone tablets, which are known to law enforcement as a product in high demand among drug abusers and dealers.
Prosecutors also said each 180-tablet prescription itself was “significantly above recommended guidelines for prescribing opioids.” The dosage equals to 270 morphine milligram equivalents (MME); the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that “even relatively low dosages” of between 20 and 50 MMEs greatly increase a consumer’s risk of overdose or death.
DEA agents arrested Francisco and Othman on charges of conspiring to distribute with intent to distribute, and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone for illegal and non-medical purposes.
Both Francisco and Othman were arraigned by a U.S. District Court judge following their May 20 arrest. Francisco was released on $250,000 bond, while Othman was sprung on a $50,000 bond. Each suspect faces up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted.