Counterfeit oxycodone ICE confiscated in California in 2016.

Andrew Tablack, of Beverly Hills, and Stephan Durham, of Altadena,  have both been charged with “one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of cyclopropyl fentanyl. Tablack is also charged with distribution of 400 grams or more of cyclopropyl fentanyl,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) reported on December 20th.

According to the DOJ , Tablack and Durham were running a “pill production facility” in California that could produce thousands of counterfeit pills. A break in the case came when New Jersey authorities seized a massive 44 pound shipment of pills in Monmouth County. According to the Asbury Park Press “detectives seized blue-tinted carfentanil and cyclopropyl fentanyl pills that strongly resembled Oxycodone pills during separate police investigations in Holmdel and Long Branch.”

The DOJ alleges that Tablack ordered as many as 9 pill press machines, along with dies for pressing fake oxycodone pills.  He also allegedly ordered bulk fentanyl from a laboratory in China that mislabeled the drug as “food and beauty products.”  Durham’s role was that of the lessee of the industrial property where Tablack’s illicit pill production facility was operating.

Tablack allegedly sold his fake oxycodone pills via the dark web and accepted Bitcoin as payment. Bitcoin is “a form of cryptocurrency that is increasingly common in the narcotics trade due to its relative anonymity,” reports Centraljersey.com.

The charges against Tablack and Durham carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, with the potential  of a maximum penalty of life in prison, along with a $10 million fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tazneen Shahabuddin of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark represents the government.

The special agents of DEA in Newark, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Valerie Nickerson; special agents of DEA in Los Angeles, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge David Downing; the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Homeland Security Investigation’s (HSI) Newark Division, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael McCarthy; DHS-HSI, Los Angeles Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Joseph Macias; inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Joseph W. Cronin; and special agents of the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Kenneth Cleevely, Eastern Area Field Office, conducted  the investigation lead to charges against Tablack and Durham.