According to the Deseret News, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) arrested four people and executed search warrants in Utah and several other states on Friday in order to dismantle a counterfeit fentanyl pill operation that had been under investigation for the past year. DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Brian Besser said these counterfeiters allegedly produced fake oxycodone and Xanax made with fentanyl. The operation was based out of the greater Salt Lake City area and in other states for “quite some time.”
Besser said, “They’re manufacturing these things to make them look like authentic pharmaceutical-grade tablets. They even go to measures to color them the right color, stamp them to look like they’re oxycodone 30 mg tablets, when, in fact, they’re actually made with garbage binders and fentanyl.” He compared this operation to the one run by Aaron Shamo in Cottonwood Heights until November 2016.
The names of those arrested were not immediately released and Besser indicated that further arrests may be made in this case. The house searched in South Jordan was a suspect’s primary home and not a stash house. “That’s the part that concerns DEA, these individuals who are perpetrating these types of crime on a neighborhood could be right next door,” Besser said. More information is expected to be released about this case in the coming weeks.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the DEA worked with the Salt Lake City Metro Narcotics Task Force, Homeland Security, the IRS, and the U.S. Marshals Service on the investigation. Both the South Jordan and West Jordan police were involved in the Friday morning arrest and seizure.