Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 | 2:02 p.m.
A Las Vegas man was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for trafficking prescription drugs between here and Alaska, Nevada’s U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden announced Thursday.
Nicholas Ghafouria, 28, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy, drug and money laundering charges, officials said. Federal authorities said Ghafouria organized the distribution of more than 4,000 oxycodone pills in Alaska and laundered at least $1.2 million in cash proceeds between May 2009 and October 2010.
Ghafouria, one of 27 defendants charged in the scheme, shipped or transported the pills on airplanes from Las Vegas to Alaska, where the pills sold for $65 each, officials said. In turn, co-conspirators in Alaska would send money back to Ghafouria via couriers or deposit proceeds into a bank account. At Ghafouria’s direction, people in Las Vegas would withdraw the money.
Nineteen of the defendants charged were from Alaska, while the other eight resided in Las Vegas, officials said. Most received a prison sentence.
Ghafouria must also forfeit more than $1.2 million in cash and property and serve three years of supervised release upon completing his prison sentence.
“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,” Bodgen wrote in a statement. “Since January 2010, over 100 individuals, including four doctors and a pharmacist, have been charged in Nevada with unlawfully distributing highly addicted prescription painkillers.”
Multiple law enforcement agencies in Nevada and Alaska investigated this case.