The leader of a Newark-based narcotics ring that illegally distributed millions of dollars a year in OxyContin and other prescription painkillers has been sentenced today to more than a decade in prison.

Mohamed Hassanain, 47, of West Orange (NJ Office of Attorney General)
Mohamed Hassanain, 47, of West Orange (NJ Office of Attorney General)

Eleven years in state prison is the sentence handed down to Mohamed Hassanain according to State Attorney General Jeff Chiesa.

“The defendants in this case were reaping millions of dollars by distributing thousands of addictive narcotic pills every week to criminals who were dealing them on the streets of New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts,” says Chiesa. “By locking up the leader of this ring and his accomplices, we shut down their criminal enterprise so they can no longer contribute to the deadly national epidemic of painkiller abuse, which is killing roughly 40 Americans each day.”

In pleading guilty, Hassanain admits he led a narcotics ring that sold approximately 40,000 OxyContin and Percocet pills per week, mostly to a distribution ring based in the Bronx, N.Y.

Along with Hassanain, 18 other members of his ring were charged in a state grand jury indictment that stemmed from “Operation Pandora,” an investigation by the New Jersey State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice. All of the defendants have pleaded guilty. Approximately $2 million in assets were seized and forfeited to the state in the investigation.

“The lengthy prison sentence imposed on this defendant exemplifies how the Division of Criminal Justice and the State Police have focused intensely on combating the emerging threat of diversion of prescription painkillers,” says Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Together, we have now secured guilty pleas from all 19 defendants, who face a cumulative total of more than 200 years in state prison.”

Under the plea agreement, Hassanain was required to forfeit nine parcels of property he owns in Essex County and a Mercedes S-550, all of which were seized in the investigation as proceeds of the criminal enterprise. He also forfeited any claim to the cash seized during the investigation.

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