The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that former University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign doctoral student Stephan Caamano received a 13-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to manufacturing and selling at least 4.3 million counterfeit Xanax pills from March 2017 to May 2018. Using a pill press and alprazolam powder purchased from companies in China, Caamano shipped out the pills, which were made in his garage, in quantities of one thousand up to a million per package.
According to the Criminal Complaint, the USPS mail carrier responsible for collecting mail from the drop boxes Caamano used filed a formal complaint in March 2017 about the 50 to 100 envelopes he was leaving on a daily basis “making his collection duties very difficult to complete.” Other shipping mishaps, including packages of pills being sent to random strangers whose locations Caamano had used as return addresses, slowly shone more light onto his criminal enterprise. The one common factor in all the seized and returned packages was the same EasyPost account number.
A court document lists the counts that Caamon pleaded guilty to:
- One count of trafficking in a counterfeit drug
- Two counts of distribution of a controlled substance
- Two counts of money laundering
- Two counts of engaging in money transactions in property
According to The News-Gazette, Caamano admitted that he committed these crimes “for selfish financial reasons.” U.S. Attorney John Milhiser said, “This defendant made millions of dollars while putting thousands of people at risk from counterfeit medication that was manufactured in his garage.” Agents with the Springfield Resident Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection – Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Champaign Police Department Street Crimes Unit, and the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office all contributed to this investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel E. Ritzer prosecuted this case.