November 15, 2021: Feds indict alleged fake cough syrup ring in Texas

A federal indictment alleges that nine Texans made $52.7 million in drug proceeds selling misbranded and counterfeit promethazine-codeine cough syrup between April 2014 and August 2021.

A November 2021 indictment says that the ring stored the addictive medicine in a pharmaceutical facility in Houston and distributed it—sometimes with labels mimicking legitimate prescription cough syrup—in Florida, Louisiana, Ohio and Texas.

Other news in the south

Dakota Shadoe Tunnell of Marion, Virginia pleaded guilty to selling fake oxycodone pills made with fentanyl.

Police in Horry County, South Carolina reported that they had seized fentanyl pills and methamphetamine pills during a traffic stop in October.

Retired teacher Missy Salyers spoke about her son, Clay Goble, who died in Ashland, Kentucky after taking counterfeit painkillers in July 2021. In Catawba County, North Carolina, Hunter Price’s father also shared his story.

A man in Richmond, Kentucky has been charged with selling the counterfeit Percocet pills made with carfentanil that killed a woman in ​​South Killarney in August 2021.

Police in Oxford, Mississippi reported that there had been 26 fentanyl poisonings as a result of counterfeit prescription pills in the city so far this year. 10 of them were fatal.

Police in Odessa, Texas warned that they had responded to four poisonings, one of which was fatal, that involved counterfeit oxycodone pills.


Federal prosecutors charged a man in Quincy, Massachusetts with allegedly selling 1,000 counterfeit Adderall pills made with methamphetamine to an undercover investigator.

This week also saw the indictment of 13 alleged members of a Lawrence, Massachusetts-based drug trafficking conspiracy that included the sale of fake Adderall made with methamphetamine and counterfeit oxycodone pills that contained fentanyl.


Police in Bellaire, Ohio reported finding more than 800 counterfeit Percocet pills made with fentanyl when they arrested a man on drug charges.

An off-duty police sergeant had to use three doses of Narcan to revive a woman who had taken a counterfeit pill in a casino in Kansas City, Missouri.

Alissa Saunders, a certified nursing assistant in New Lenox, Illinois, died of fentanyl poisoning in March 2021. Detectives suspect that she had ingested a counterfeit pill.

A mother in Madison, Indiana reported the death of her son as a result of a counterfeit pill made with fentanyl.

Fake Adderall pills made with meth have become an increasing problem in the U.S. Learn more.

Pacific West

Prosecutors in California announced that the second of three men under indictment for supplying rapper Mac Miller the counterfeit pills that killed him has agreed to plead guilty.

A federal grand jury charged two Fresno County, California men in separate drug cases.  Police found thousands of fentanyl pills in the home of the first defendant, a Fresno 19-year-old, who allegedly supplied pills that led to two non-fatal fentanyl poisonings. The second man, a 38-year-old in Reedley, was allegedly carrying fentanyl and fentanyl pills in his car.

Customs and Border Protection at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport seized 37 illegally imported pill presses and 2,305 capsule-filling machines between Oct. 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2021.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department arrested a Whittier resident who allegedly sold counterfeit COVID-19 cards.

Smuggled pill press machines seized by CBP, are capable of producing over 1 million capsules of illegal drugs per hour. (Source: CBP)

Mountain West

A 27-year-old Las Vegas, Nevada resident has been charged with selling the fentanyl pills that killed Sean Bowman in February 2021. Police reports say that the man was “known for” selling pills and other drugs via Snapchat.

Police in Greeley, Colorado found that a man was carrying meth, heroin and 100 fentanyl pills when they arrested him on a domestic violence charge.

Law enforcement in Garfield County, Colorado charged seven people for their alleged roles in a multidrug trafficking operation, seizing drugs that included more than 13,000 counterfeit pills made with fentanyl, firearms and cash.

An Idaho Falls, Idaho man on parole is back in jail after he agreed to sell drugs to an undercover officer. Police found several hundred counterfeit pills made with fentanyl while searching his truck.

A trooper with the Department of Public Safety arrested two men in Casa Grande, Arizona after finding 30,000 counterfeit pills made with fentanyl in their car.