Three Co-Defendants Admit To Their Roles In Massive Utah Counterfeit Pill Case

Locations That Shamo Drug Ring Shipped Pills
Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reported that three additional defendants are working out deals with prosecutors in a massive counterfeit pill case that happened in Utah. Alexandrya Marie Tonge, Katherine Lauren Ann Bustin, and Sean Michael Gygi all filed paperwork in court in advance of pleading guilty and finalized plea agreements. Of the six original defendants, the only two not to have worked out deals are Aaron Shamo and Drew Crandall. A seventh defendant, Jonathan Luke Paz, just had charges filed against him in May 2018.

According to documents filed in court, Tonge and Bustin came into the conspiracy at the same time and performed the same duties. They admitted to the same counts including elements of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, elements of possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute, and use of the U.S. mail in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense. In 2015, both women received payment by Shamo and Crandall to receive packages on their behalf. In June of that same year, the women looked for a more significant role in the organization to increase the amount of money they were being paid. The additional duties included properly packaging the shipments of pills to customers. Tonge and Bustin would retrieve the encrypted list of customers by email and fill the orders. Mario Noble admitted previously in court to being one of the people in charge of running the online marketplace where the group who sold their pills and creating that encrypted list of customer orders.

Tonge and Bustin both referenced Shamo hiring of a runner in August 2016 to drop packages off at post offices. In his statement, Gygi admitted to being that runner, although he had been accepting shipments of drugs from China for the members of the conspiracy since 2015. Gygi said that approximately five nights a week, he would pick up packages from Tonge and Bustin’s residence and drop them off at different post offices throughout Salt Lake City “in an attempt to avoid detection by law enforcement.” Gygi knew that the packages contained counterfeit pain pills made with fentanyl and fake alprazolam tablets that the group made themselves.

Given the serious nature of the charges, all three defendants could face lengthy prison sentences. Hearings to determine how long the trio will serve have not been set.