Atlanta Man Indicted For Selling Deadly Fake Pills

Caption: Pills for sale on social media
Source: Instagram post uploaded September 12, 2018

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that a federal grand jury indicted an Atlanta man on multiple counts related to the distribution of counterfeit pills made with fentanyl. Edward Culton allegedly supplied counterfeit 30-milligram Roxicodone pills to Hubert Nathans. According to the Criminal Complaint, Nathans advertised the pills on Instagram to sell them.

In a press release announcing the indictment, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) noted that one person died after taking a pill sold to him by Nathans in October 2017 and a woman was poisoned in January 2018 after she had only taken part of a pill. In a statement, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division said: “This counterfeit ‘pill peddler’ (Culton) was a menace to society. Pills in the underground drug market are often diluted with dangerous and deadly substances, as was the case in this investigation. Purchasing pills on the street is synonymous to playing Russian roulette, as there’s no quality control or efficacy in the process.”

After the Roswell Police Department identified Nathans as a source for the counterfeit Roxicodone pills being sold in the area, law enforcement used a Confidential Source (CS) to make two controlled buys from him in January and February 2018. Each time, the CS initiated the deal by messaging Nathans on Instagram. Police also put a GPS monitor on his car. On multiple occasions, law enforcement observed Nathans picking up pills from Culton.

Search warrants were executed on both Nathans’ and Culton’s homes on February 15, 2018. Nathans immediately identified Culton as his sole source for the illicit pills. Agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seized hundreds of the counterfeit pills during the search of Culton’s apartment.

Nathans pleaded guilty on August 13, 2018 to conspiracy to distribute fentanyl which resulted in the death of one individual and the serious injury to another. The DEA and Roswell Police Department investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Hartigan is prosecuting the case against Culton.