As reported by Deseret News, a Utah man has been charged in federal court for his role in the Aaron Shamo counterfeit drug ring. Charges against Jonathan Luke Paz were filed in U.S. District Court alleging that he manufactured counterfeit 30-mg oxycodone pills using fentanyl. Paz stands accused of working with Aaron Shamo, the alleged leader of the Pharma-Master counterfeit fentanyl pill drug ring, from at least February 3, 2016 until November 22, 2016. Shamo’s trial is scheduled to begin in August of this year.
According to the Felony Information, Paz had four charges filed against him. The first charge is conspiracy to manufacture counterfeit pills with fentanyl. The second and third charges are that Paz knowingly sold counterfeit pills on the internet. The fourth charge is money laundering. In addition to two vehicles, the federal government is seeking the forfeiture of over $1.6M in cash and over $5M from the proceeds of the sale of 513.15 Bitcoin.
A listing of seized items in the Felony Information included a pill press found at Shamo’s residence on Titian Way and 42 dies and molds used to press pills. Some of the dies and molds found could be used to produce pills such as Xanax, alprazolam (the generic version of Xanax), or oxycodone. Authorities are still working to see if they can tie 28 overdose deaths around the country to pills purchased from Pharma-Master.