SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Another man involved in the large scale operation of making, selling fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills in Utah has now been charged.
According to an indictment filed on Sept. 30 in U.S. District Federal Court, Christopher Sean Kenny, 44, is facing conspiracy to distribute fentanyl after prosecutors said he sold hundreds of thousands of fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills and alprozolam tablets he bought from now convicted drug ring operator Aaron Shamo.
Documents further state a man involved in the operation told investigators Shamo would sell Kenny 1,000 to 2,000 of the fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone every two weeks in the beginning of production, and they started with making a few thousand a month in the beginning, but by the end of Nov 2016, they were making up to 70,000 full strength fentanyl pills per week.
The informant said both he and Shamo told Kenny they wanted to stop pill production because of the death of the man in California that was possibly linked to their operation but Kenny convinced them to continue over his “big plans”.
Aaron Shamo was convicted in August for running a multimillion-dollar opioid ring from his Cottonwood Heights home.
Prosecutors say he was the kingpin of the ring that peddled the fake pills to thousands of people and possibly linked to the overdose of a 21-year-old California man however the jury deadlocked over deciding if Shamo was responsible for the death.
The defense acknowledged that Shamo was selling drugs but argued that he couldn’t have run the operation alone and there wasn’t proof he caused the overdose.
According to documents, more than $1 million was found in Shamo’s dresser and it was made clear in the trial that multiple people were involved in the operation, stating Shamo had help from a handful of friends.
Documents state Shamo bought the fentanyl online from Chinese manufacturers, pressed it into fake oxycodone pills and then sold it on the dark web, prosecutors said.
Two friends Shamo had met at work packaged the pills, sometimes processing so many that they had to vacuum them off the floor, prosecutors said.
Another former co-worker sent them out through the U.S. mail.
The drug ring began to fall apart when customs agents intercepted a fentanyl package from China. From there, investigators say they worked their way up to the raid on Shamo’s home in November 2016, apparently in the middle of a pill-pressing run.
Shamo is scheduled to be sentenced on December 3 and Kenny’s next federal court hearing is scheduled for Thursday.
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