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Prosecutors: Remaining 2 leaders of oxycodone ring charged

Deidreanne Dopwell, 23, and Joshua Lewis, 26, both

Deidreanne Dopwell, 23, and Joshua Lewis, 26, both of Elmont, were apprehended Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 after they had been sought by Drug Enforcement Administration agents since Friday, when officials broke up an oxycodone ring responsible for a "staggering amount" of illegal pill sales. Credit: DEA

The two fugitive leaders of a Long Island-based oxycodone ring that had been dealing "staggering amounts" of oxycodone in the metropolitan area and along the East Coast surrendered Tuesday to federal agents, officials said.

The two -- Joshua Lewis, 26, and Deidreanne Dopwell, 23, both of Elmont -- had been sought by Drug Enforcement Administration agents since Friday, when the officials said the ring was broken up with the arrest of two of the group's other leaders.

The ring obtained 100,000 oxycodone tablets in the past two years by forging the prescription blanks of legitimate doctors and having associates, known as runners, fill the prescriptions at metropolitan-area pharmacies, mainly on Long Island, according to Eastern District federal prosecutor Michael Canty.

The ring used computer programs to imprint the phone number of a ring member on the prescriptions in case a pharmacist wanted to check if the oxycodone prescription was legitimate, according to court papers. To further make the oxycodone prescription appear legitimate, the ring members submitted a second forged prescription at the same time for common non-narcotics such as Mobic, an anti-inflammatory drug, the papers said.

Officials said they did not know how the ring obtained the prescription blanks.

Lewis was accused of being in charge of most of the day-to-day operations of the ring, and Dopwell was accused of being the person who answered the phone when a pharmacist called the doctor's falsified number.

Neither Lewis nor Dopwell was required to enter a plea to the charges of illegally distributing oxycodone.

Magistrate Gary Brown, at the federal court in Central Islip, released Lewis on $500,000 bond signed for by his mother and his family's minister. Lewis was ordered confined to his mother's Elmont home and monitored by an electronic bracelet after he undergoes an operation on his right hand that was scheduled for Wednesday. His attorney said he had injured himself in a car accident.

Dopwell was released on $250,000 bond signed for by four relatives.

On Friday, the alleged mastermind of the ring, Cedric Moss, 46, of Jamaica, and another alleged ringleader, Michael Thomas, of 26, of Shirley, were arrested and held without bail, deemed flight risks and dangers to the community.

Lewis' and Dopwell's attorneys declined to comment after the arraignment.

The four defendants each face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

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