The Free Press reported that a Minnesota man, who purchased oxycodone pills online that turned out to be counterfeits laced with carfentanil and cocaine, received three years probation. Carfentanil is 10,000 times stronger than morphine and extremely dangerous. 21-year-old Joshua Ryan Chlan pleaded guilty to fourth-degree possession with intent to sell. If Chlan completes his probation, he will not have to spend any additional time in jail, nor will he have a criminal record for causing multiple non-fatal overdoses.
Three people overdosed on those pills in Northfield in a matter of days – two on February 23rd and one on February 25th, 2018. It was anonymous tips and one of the victims who initially indicated that the pills came from 22-year-old Joshua Edward Tarka. Tarka, who faces multiple drug charges in Rice County District Court, told police that Chlan supplied him with the pills and that both of them also experienced overdoses. Tarka said that Chlan claimed to have purchased the pills online.
According to the criminal complaint, when police searched Chlan’s residence, they found 46 blue pills marked as oxycodone that looked like the pills involved in the overdoses and other drugs. Mankato Times reported in March that those pills had either “A215” or “M30” imprinted into them. Both of those imprints are for oxycodone pills. The Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force began investigating after being made aware of the possible connection between Chlan and Tarka following the latter’s arrest on February 28, 2018 in Northfield.
This was not the first incident of counterfeit pills in Minnesota. In April 2016, Prince was found dead in an elevator at Paisley Park. Toxicology tests showed he had a lethal amount of fentanyl in his system, and counterfeit pain pills containing the drug were found around his home. To read about other incidents of counterfeit medicines – including fake cancer medications – please read PSM’s 2018 Minnesota Infosheet.