Detroit Free Press (MI)

January 9, 1983
Section: NWS
Page: 3A

Free Press Staff and Associated Press

West Bloomfield pharmacist Bernard Levine and Dr. Ryan Krebs of Milan were sentenced to five years in prison for conspiring to distribute drugs. Levine also was fined $10 ,000.

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor also on Friday sentenced Shirley Bradley Danner and Linda Ricks, both of Detroit, to 18 months in prison and 200 hours of community service. Diggs suspended the womens' terms, except for 60 days for Danner.

The four were convicted of conspiring with Nellie Bell Kassim, who pleaded guilty last August to conspiracy to possess and illegal distribution of pharmaceutical drugs through six Detroit weight loss clinics.

Kassim, 42, said to be the organizer of a ring of doctors, pharmacists and drug users who ran what federal investigators called a lucrative "prescription mill," agreed to co-operate with the government and testify against 22 co- defendents.

Kassim and her co-conspirators ran the clinics for 18 months, and witnesses estimated Kassim made more than $5 million a year operating them.

Krebs, 29, worked at two clinics and earned as much as $100 an hour for writing prescriptions for drugs, Kassim testified.

Another doctor , Alan Devore Fields, D.O., earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy. Levine was one of several pharmacists indicted in the case, and Danner and Ricks were identified as "employe conspirators."

Federal authorities said the drugs distributed in the clinics were "as serious as the distribution of heroin" in Detroit.

The clinics were distributing Talwin, a painkiller commonly mixed with antihistamines for injection to give an effect similar to heroin, and at least eight other prescription drugs.


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