Imported Bulk Drugs Became 45,000 Thousand Fake Pills A Month; Ring Leader Sentenced to 26 Years

Click here to learn about other counterfeit drug incidents in California

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a 320 month-long prison sentence for the leader of a drug ring that manufactured and distributed counterfeit pills made with acetyl fentanyl across the United States. Gary Resnik, of Long Beach California, pled guilty in August 2017 to two counts: conspiracy to manufacture and distribute narcotics and possession with the intent to distribute acetyl fentanyl. Resnik was referred to as “the leader” of this drug ring that distributed hundreds of thousands of counterfeit pharmaceutical pills. Prosecutors stated that in a nine-month period, Resnik’s organization sold between 40,000 – 45,000 fake pills every month.

According to the criminal complaint, agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) initially arrested Resnik in June 2015 but had the charges dropped to allow them to go after other members of the conspiracy. In January 2016, officers pulled over a car driven by a man who had just stopped by one of the addresses under police surveillance. Inside the vehicle, they found 5,000 counterfeit Norcos made with acetyl fentanyl along with counterfeit Xanax pills and ecstasy. The man admitted to making purchases like that one from this drug ring every “couple days.”

At the time he pled guilty, Resnik admitted to purchasing bulk chemicals from China and using them to manufacture counterfeit opioid pills. The organization also illegally imported pill presses from China which they used to make the pills. In just one of his clandestine labs, agents from the DEA seized over 11 kilograms of acetyl fentanyl. U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said, “Resnik led a sophisticated operation that used dangerous Chinese-made chemicals to manufacture counterfeit pharmaceuticals. Through his makeshift labs, he put thousands of fentanyl analogue pills on the streets, risking the lives of unsuspecting people. This sentence is well deserved.”

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael G. Freedman of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Section and David Ryan of the General Crimes Section prosecuted this case.