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Man who forged COVID-19 drug test to avoid trial is sentenced, DA says

A Suffolk County judge sentenced a Manhattan man to 15 years in prison for selling and possessing cocaine and heroin in Wyandanch, while he faces other charges with his wife for falsifying a positive COVID-19 test to delay the trial, Suffolk County prosecutors said Thursday.

Devon Lewis' arrest came after he sold the drugs near a home where he previously lived in the hamlet to an undercover police officer on three occasions in September 2019, prosecutors said.

A jury convicted Lewis, 35, last year on six counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and six counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

"My administration has made it clear that we are going to seek stiff penalties for anyone dealing drugs in our community, which is one of many strategies we’re employing to get this poison off our streets," Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini said iin a release announcing the sentencing.

"This is an individual who was not only selling drugs but allegedly attempted to avoid facing the consequences of those actions with a scheme he tried to pull on the Court. Clearly, that scheme did not work, and he was convicted by a jury and fittingly sentenced to the maximum possible prison time in this case," Sini said.

On Sept. 23, the day before closing arguments, prosecutors said in a statement Lewis provided the court with a "document purporting to show that his wife, Blair McDermott, who had been present for the duration of the trial, had tested positive for COVID-19 that day."

The court suspended the trial until McDermott, 36, received a negative diagnosis.

Lewis told the court during a virtual conference Oct. 1 that he and McDermott were quarantining at their Manhattan residence. On Oct. 14, Lewis’ attorney provided the court a document showing McDermott had tested positive again on Oct. 8.

Prosecutors, however, conducted an investigation and found that McDermott allegedly altered the documents she submitted to the court and had tested negative.

After Lewis’ Nov. 13 conviction, prosecutors said they executed a search warrant on his cellphone and found the couple traveled to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland when they claimed to be in quarantine.

Prosecutors also determined that when Lewis provided a forged doctor’s note to the court in August, stating he had asthma and any jail sentence imposed during the coronavirus pandemic would expose him to a health risk, the document.

McDermott was arrested as was Lewis in December. The couple faces two counts of second-degree forgery, two counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, and other criminal charges.

Those charges are pending, prosecutors said.

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