Bronx-based drug ring dispensed nearly $550M worth of oxycodone pills

Dr. Kevin Lowe, owner of Astramed, pocketed nearly $12 million in fees for writing prescriptions for fake patients, authorities say. He and more than a dozen suspects were arrested for pumping out the narcotic to long lines of buyers.

Robert Terdiman — one of the ring who was arraigned Wednesday — wrote 18,700 prescriptions just since 2012, authorities said.

This ruthless drug kingpin ruled with an iron hand — and a prescription pad.

A doctor who owned a pair of Bronx pain management clinics was busted with two dozen co-conspirators for running a mind-boggling $550 million oxycodone ring, authorities said Wednesday.

Dr. Kevin Lowe, 54, of upstate Kingston, personally pocketed $12 million between January 2011 and January 2014 before investigators shut down the violent, lucrative operation, according to court papers.

Two fatal shootings were among the “dozens of incidents of violence” committed as the drug ring spread its greedy tentacles across the city, authorities said.

The alleged mastermind and his corrupt medical cohorts are charged with scribbling 31,500 phony oxycodone prescriptions — or about 30 per day, every day, for three years.

The plot pumped an estimated 5.5 million pills onto the streets — enough to get every man, woman and child in the Bronx high three times over.

Chief among Lowe’s collaborators was Dr. Robert Terdiman, 68, who was busted Tuesday afternoon in one of the Bronx clinics.

Terdiman, who had stopped his medical practice in 2004, came out of retirement in June 2012 to write a stunning 18,700 prescriptions to 4,200 people worth $90 million, officials said.

The pills sell for up to $40 a pop.

“This is poison by prescription, and the volume and money allegedly involved would make hardened illegal drug traffickers envious,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

Lowe’s Astramed operated out of two Bronx offices that basically functioned as drug bazaars, with Lowe supervising in person or via surveillance camera.

“Part of the brilliance of (Lowe’s) scheme is that he managed largely to keep his hands clean by hiring other doctors,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Diskant said at Lowe’s arraignment Wednesday night in Manhattan Federal Court.

Prosecutors said Lowe was “complicit in much of the violence,” hiring muscular bouncers — including one enforcer known as “Pork Chop” — to keep the peace at his clinics and ensure the silence of all involved.

One clinic worker was tossed through a wall in September in retaliation for interfering with the criminal status quo, court documents charged.

“I don’t want to hear no nonsense out of you today,” suspect Donald Carr told one doctor outside a clinic on Dec. 20, 2013, according to court papers.

Up to 100 eager “patients” gathered each weekday morning outside the two offices, with each paying the doctors between $200 and $300 to get the prescriptions

“The individuals who received these oxycodone prescriptions were not legitimate patients and no physical examinations were conducted,” court papers said.

The paperwork was then passed on to “high-level drug traffickers,” who peddled the pills. Officials identified 10 separate drug crews getting the product from Astramed, including one based in Beacon.

The crews paid three clinic office managers cash to guarantee access to the doctors.

Lowe paid the physicians a flat-rate per prescription written, authorities charged.

Terdiman, who was living in a room at the Tuckahoe Motor Inn in Yonkers, was held without bail after his solo Wednesday arraignment in Manhattan Supreme Court, an appearance that preceded the federal court hearings for his co-defendants.

Authorities offered no explanation for Terdiman’s exclusion from the federal indictment, which identifies him as “Doctor-1.”

Lowe and 20 other defendants were arrested Tuesday. Three other suspects remained on the lam.

All of the defendants face a sentence of up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

The investigation into the twin pill mills began after Bronx residents complained to state Sen. Jeff Klein about the huge crowds gathered outside the clinics.

Lowe pleaded not guilty and a judge set bail at $5 million, which he was expected to secure with his Melville, L.I., home and medical headquarters in St. Albans, Queens. Once he makes bail, he’ll be confined to home detention and wear an electronic monitoring device.

Defense attorney Robert Dapelo blamed doctors Lowe worked with for the legal woes, saying, “These two offices (in the Bronx) were run by rogue doctors who were writing the prescriptions.”

“This is a travesty,” Dapelo said.

Seven other suspects were held without bail and 14 were granted bail from $100,000 to $200,000.

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