February 13 2023: PSM’s congressional briefing is 2/28. Register here.

This week:  Register for PSM’s 2/28 congressional briefing in Washington D.C. The WHO says contaminated infant cough syrups have killed 300 children. News of deaths, seizures and prosecutions related to fake prescription pills in 20 states and the nation’s capital.

PSM's Briefing for the 118th Congress

Washington D.C., February 28, 2023, 8:00  – 10:00am

The program, which is open to the public will include breakfast, a keynote by U.S. Senator Rick Scott,
and panels about Impediments to Foreign Drug Importation | Social Media & Counterfeit Pills.

Reserve your seat now 

International News

The World Health Organization issued a Medical Product Alert about two more contaminated syrup medicines that were identified in Uzbekistan. More than 300 children in Gambia, Indonesia and Uzbekistan have died after ingesting contaminated infant cough syrups over the last five months.

Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported an increase in deaths from counterfeit medicines in Egypt.

Ukraine’s Secret Service is investigating a government official who may have facilitated the importation of “low quality foreign medicines” for sale in Ukraine.


Counterfeit pills made with fentanyl and other drugs

In the South


Springdale resident Krystle Marie Owens was sentenced to more than 11 years for distributing methamphetamine. Investigators also found her with 1,600 fentanyl pills in February 2022.


Deputies with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office arrested  two Clearwater residents when they seized approximately 3,000 counterfeit Adderall pills presumed to be made of methamphetamine and about 8000 grams of other illicit drugs from an alleged drug house.


Jamaul Raheem Boyce of East Point received a 30-year federal sentence for running a drug trafficking operation. A June 2019 search of the apartment he shared with his girlfriend and three children yielded distribution quantities of narcotics, some pills, pill presses, and loaded, readily accessible firearms.


A Bowling Green, Kentucky man already being prosecuted in a drug case has been charged for providing the fentanyl pills that killed 17-year-old Jerry Kuhlenhoelter on November 1, 2022.


Dean Carlin Fender of Biloxi was sentenced to three years for possession with intent to distribute fentanyl after he sold fentanyl pills to a man who subsequently caused a fatal traffic accident at Keesler Air Force Base.


Two adults in Carrollton, Texas allegedly sold "M30" fentanyl pills to teenagers at a local high school and middle school. Court documents say their drug operation had caused 10 fentanyl poisonings—three of them fatal—since September.  One of those students was 14-year-old Jose Alberto Perez.

Adrian Warren of Saginaw received a 30-year federal prison sentence for running a fentanyl pill operation in Fort Worth. In August 2022, agents seized a pill press, over 300 grams of blue M-30 pills, counterfeit hydrocodone pills and fake Xanax bars; 576 grams of counterfeit MDMA pills made with fentanyl; methamphetamine and heroin associated with the scheme. Warren’s co-defendants Joanna Martinez-Otero and Jamie Rodriguez were sentenced to 15 and nearly 11 years, respectively.

Investigators raided a car rental business in northwest Houston, seizing 17 pounds of fentanyl, approximately two pounds of counterfeit Xanax pills suspected to be made with fentanyl, a pound of counterfeit Adderall pills, and more than 48 pounds of other other drugs.

Deneeko Shavers of Texarkana received a 40-year state prison sentence after Texarkana Texas Police Department caught him with approximately 300 counterfeit pills containing fentanyl and two pounds of marijuana.

Pill press seized from Saginaw, Texas resident in August 2022. (U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas)

Washington D.C.

Larry Jerome Eastman of Temple Hills, Maryland and his sister, Justice Michelle Eastmanof Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. Investigators have linked their fentanyl pill sales to the death of a  Southeast Washington, D.C. woman in April 2021.


Law enforcement arrested a 71-year-old and seized $13,400, three pounds of crystal methamphetamine, more than 400 suspected fentanyl pills, and drug paraphernalia when they searched a home in James City County.

In the Northeast

Fentanyl pills found in protein powder containers, seized in Manhattan in February 2023. (U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York)

New York

Law enforcement in Manhattan arrested a man who tried to sell approximately 50,000 multicolored fentanyl pills hidden in protein powder containers to a cooperating witness in exchange for $400,000.

In the Midwest


A Warsaw man was arrested on drug charges during the investigation of a suspected fentanyl pill death on February 2.


A  jury found Derrick Scott guilty of fentanyl pill trafficking and federal firearms violations. Minneapolis Police Department officers caught him with 355 fentanyl pills after he brandished a gun while threatening someone at a convenience store.

An Albert Lea woman has pleaded not guilty to third-degree murder and other charges for  supplying fentanyl pills to her sister, who was found dead at her family's home in 2021.

Hennepin County Sheriff's deputies seized nearly 1,300 fentanyl pills as part of a drug bust in Minneapolis that also turned up cocaine and methamphetamine.


Matthew Foster of Alliance received a 15-year federal prison for drug distribution after he sold fentanyl pills that poisoned an Alliance resident in February 2021.

Zaire Robinson of Omaha, Nebraska received a 15-year federal prison sentence for gun and drug trafficking crimes. Law enforcement seized hundreds of fentanyl pills during a search of his apartment on March 28, 2022

Carlos Rios-Alonso of Omaha, Nebraska received a 29-month federal sentence for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl. The Drug Enforcement Administration intercepted 2,000 fentanyl pills in a  FedEx package on its way to him in November 2021.

Two more Omaha residents, Robert Rush and Ja’Hvont Payne, were sentenced to 15 and 5 years, respectively for distribution of a fentanyl analogue. Omaha Police Department seized 1,029 fentanyl pills from Rush’s home in March 2020. At least one of the pills Rush led to a death.


Zandrell Besaw of Green Bay pleaded guilty to dealing fentanyl after he sold fake Percocet pills made with fentanyl to a confidential informant. Officers found 400 counterfeit pills in his home when they arrested him in May 2022.

In the Mountain West


The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) found almost 94 pounds of fentanyl pills, and approximately three-and-a-half pounds of other narcotics during the search of a house in Tucson.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Area Port of Douglas arrested a 34-year-old man attempting to smuggle 45 pounds (approximately 180,000 pills) of blue fentanyl pills concealed in a compartment in the floor of the vehicle.

Eduardo Flores-Diaz was sentenced to 78 months in prison. Agents and DPS troopers found Flores-Diaz and three co-conspirators with 90,000 counterfeit oxycodone pills in Scottsdale in April 2022.


Last week Idaho Falls police seized more than 20,000 fentanyl pills and arrested two men in separate drug busts.


Missoula resident Jacob Eugene Odman was sentenced to 46 months in prison and ordered to pay $10,000 restitution for trafficking fentanyl after he provided the pills that killed another Missoula resident in February 2022.


Las Vegas police arrested a Henderson man who allegedly sold fentanyl pills that killed a woman in February 2022.

New Mexico

FBI agents in Albuquerque raided several homes and a storage unit in South Valley, breaking up a drug trafficking operation that was selling fentanyl pills in the area.

In the Pacific West


Authorities in southeast Alaska warned that there had been an uptick in counterfeit pills made with fentanyl.


Alejandro Valentino Urias was sentenced to eight years in prison after admitting he supplied a counterfeit M30 pill made of fentanyl that killed 14-year-old Valentina Langhammer of Concord.

San Diego resident Jaimee Ashley Koryn was sentenced to almost 11 years in federal prison for selling the fentanyl pills that killed 23-year-old Sherie Gil in September 2021.

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office confiscated 2,516 counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl, 23 pounds of fentanyl powder, smaller amounts of methamphetamine and cocaine base and four firearms in a drug bust at a home in San Leandro.


The Clark County Sheriff’s Office seized 13,000 fentanyl pills and arrested a 48-year-old man.

13,000 fentanyl pills and two pounds of meth seized in Clark County, Wa (Clark County Sheriff's Office)