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Undercover detective testifies in doctor's drug case

Dr. Leonard Stambler leaves federal court in Central

Dr. Leonard Stambler leaves federal court in Central Islip. (Dec. 5, 2011) Credit: Ed Betz

A Suffolk undercover detective who tried unsuccessfully to buy oxycodone from a Baldwin Harbor doctor accused of illegally prescribing the painkiller testified as a defense witness at the physician's trial Thursday.

Suzanne Janes was called to testify by Dr. Leonard Stambler's Syosset attorney, Gary Schoer, after federal prosecutors rested the government's case in District Court in Central Islip Thursday.

Stambler was arrested in November after the meeting with Janes and a telephone conversation with the undercover detective later.

Stambler is charged with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and possession of the painkiller. According to court records, he has prescribed oxycodone to almost a half-dozen other patients, which was the basis for his arrest.

In an effort to catch Stambler selling oxycodone, a meeting was set up between him, Janes and an informant at the informant's Bellmore apartment in August 2011. Investigators placed a hidden camera and a recorder in the apartment of the informant, who was a patient of Stambler.

Janes, working with a DEA task force, and the informant were already in the apartment when Stambler showed up, according to a tape of the 45-minute meeting played by Schoer.

In both the tape and a subsequent telephone conversation with Stambler a month later, which was also played in court, the doctor declines to give the undercover detective a prescription for oxycodone.

Schoer is attempting to show that the tape and phone call help prove his client was a professional and would only prescribe the painkiller to people who had an actual medical need for it.

During questioning by federal prosecutor Allen Bode, Janes described Stambler as "spooked" -- concerned he was under investigation.

Also testifying Thursday for Stambler were three character witnesses who attested to what they said was the doctor's integrity and honesty, under questioning by defense attorney Schoer.

The three acknowledged, however, that they had no knowledge of the drug-dealing incidents that are alleged in the Stambler indictment, when cross-examined by prosecutor Bode.

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