The mastermind of what officials called the largest oxycodone ring ever broken up on Long Island -- with an estimated 100,000 pills distributed -- was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in federal prison.
Cedric Moss, 48, who has lived in Elmont and Jamaica, faced up to 20 years in prison under a plea-bargain agreement in which he pleaded guilty to illegal distribution of oxycodone.
But U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert said she gave him a reduced sentence out of consideration for his own drug addiction, his attempted cooperation and to give him hope.
Eastern District U.S. Attorney Michael Canty called the large number of pills involved in the ring a "staggering amount."
Canty said that on Long Island, "oxycodone is a major problem . . . and it starts with people like Cedric Moss."
Before he was sentenced, Moss told the judge, "I do accept responsibility; I did something wrong. That is a fact."
The takedown of the Moss ring by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration followed an intensified crackdown on illegal oxycodone distribution after the 2011 Father's Day killing of four people by David Laffer, a painkiller addict, during the robbery of a Medford pharmacy.
Long Island officials have fought the twin problems of heroin and pain-pill abuse for at least a decade, as increased access to legal opiates such as oxycodone and hydrocodone created a new generation of addicts.
Moss, who Seybert Wednesday said was an oxycodone addict himself, asked for a significantly lower sentence, saying, "Sometimes it takes [time] for some people to see the light."
His attorney Marvin Hirsch had also asked for a lesser sentence, saying his client had attempted to cooperate with officials.
In sentencing Moss, Seybert noted he had a criminal record going back to 1987 that included robberies, assault and drug use.
Seybert noted Moss' addiction in handing him five years less than the maximum, and said she "wanted to give him some hope."
Afterward Hirsch said his client was disappointed in the sentence.
Moss' operation was "the largest oxycodone ring that has been dismantled so far," Canty said in 2014 after Moss' arrest.
The ring, which operated for two years, illegally obtained its pills by first getting blank prescriptions from doctors' offices, forging prescriptions for the narcotics, and then submitting the forgeries to pharmacies, mainly on Long Island, officials have said.
The oxycodone was sold throughout the metropolitan area and along the East Coast, according to officials. Neither the doctors nor the pharmacists were aware of the illegal operation, officials have said.