July 31, 2023: Men sentenced for selling Americans fentanyl and fentanyl pills from a Canadian prison

This week: Federal judges sentenced two men who ran a fentanyl ring from a Quebec prison, a pharmaceutical executive who trafficked counterfeit cough syrup, and a black market drug trafficker. Additional stories about counterfeit pills and related casualties in 21 states.

National News

Two Canadians who ran an international fentanyl trafficking ring sentenced. New legislation introduced in the Senate to get dealers off social media.

Daniel Vivas Ceron and Jason Berry received prison sentences of 27 and 24 years, respectively, for operating an international fentanyl trafficking ring from a prison in Quebec, Canada. The two men were prosecuted as part of Operation Denial, an investigation into the sale of fentanyl and fentanyl pills linked to 15 overdoses, four of which were fatal. 24 other people have already been sentenced in this case.

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced legislation that would combat the sale of fentanyl and other drugs on social media platforms. This bill would standardize reporting  between social media companies and increase transparency.

Police in Kenosha, Wisconsin warned the public about a bad batch of counterfeit oxycodone pills believed to be the cause of five deaths in less than a week.

Seventeen-year-old Ellison Byrde of Little Rock, Arkansas died after she was poisoned by a counterfeit Percocet pill sold to her by a dealer on Snapchat.

Families in Kempsville, Virginia, and Austin and The Colony, Texas spoke of the pain of losing their children to counterfeit pills containing fentanyl.

International News

Interstate counterfeit medicine ring busted in India. Unlicensed products found at a supermarket in Canada.

Health Canada issued a warning that three products found for sale at a supermarket in Ontario contained undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Officials with India’s Food and Drug Administration busted an interstate gang dealing counterfeit medicines, including fake Globucel 10, an injectable drug that treats  immunoglobulin deficiency.

Picture of the counterfeit Globucel seized by the Primbri Chinchwad Police in India.
Source: DrugsControl Media Services
Picture of the counterfeit Globucel seized by the Primbri Chinchwad Police in India. Source: DrugsControl Media Services


Pharmaceutical company owner sentenced in counterfeit cough syrup case. A New Hampshire man allegedly imported drugs to make steroids. News about prosecutions involving counterfeit Adderall or fentanyl pills in ten states.

Cough syrup continues to be sought after on the black market. Customs and Border Protection seized these bottles of codeine syrup,  labeled “vegetable glycerin,” in Philadelphia in June 2023.

Adam P. Runsdorf, the owner and president of Florida-based Woodfield Pharmaceutical LLC, received a 72-month sentence for his role in a Houston, Texas drug ring that manufactured and distributed counterfeit cough syrup. Between 2014 and 2021, Woodfield's manufacturing facility made more than half a million pints of counterfeit cough syrup that was distributed for street-level use in 12 states.

South Florida resident Eladio Vega received a sentence of 87 months in prison for his role in a ring that distributed adulterated and misbranded cancer, HIV, psychiatric, and other expensive prescription medications to U.S. pharmacies using false documentation. Vega is the fifteenth defendant to be sentenced in this case.

Federal prosecutors indicted two additional sources for counterfeit pills made with fentanyl in Carollton, Texas, where at least 14 middle and high school students have been treated for fentanyl pill poisoning and four have died.

A Derry, New Hampshire man has been charged with illegally importing active pharmaceutical ingredients to make steroids that he allegedly sold to customers. Law enforcement found binding agents, a pill press, and empty bottles during a warranted search associated with the case.

Nine defendants alleged to be members and associates of a Lowell, Massachusetts street gang were charged with illegally distributing more than 12,000 counterfeit Adderall pills, almost two kilograms of other drugs, and firearms.

People in Ogden, Utah and Cheyenne, Wyoming were charged in counterfeit pill deaths. People were convicted or sentenced in cases involving counterfeit pills in Michigan City, Indiana; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Grand Island, Nebraska; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Corpus Christi, Texas; St. George, Utah and Seattle and Tacoma, Washington.


Counterfeit pills made with fentanyl seized in 15 states. Two pill presses seized in Portland, Oregon.

Glendale, Arizona Police confiscated over 780,000 counterfeit oxycodone pills, 250 pounds of methamphetamine, and more than 18 pounds of fentanyl powder

California Highway Patrol officers seized 735,000 fentanyl-laced pills, 133 pounds of methamphetamine and 37 pounds of cocaine during a traffic stop in Santa Nella, California. A bust in Bakersfield yielded another 150,000 fentanyl pills.

Deputies with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon seized two pill presses, 58,000 fentanyl pills and 16 pounds of fentanyl powder when they searched a suspect’s apartment and car in Portland

Police in Gaston County, North Carolina discovered 10,000 fentanyl pills hidden in a statue of the Virgin Mary during a traffic stop.

This police dog helped officers in Gaston County, North Carolina find 10,000 fentanyl pills in a statue of the Virgin Mary in July 2023.

Counterfeit pills were also confiscated in Bullhead City, Arizona; Fresno and San Jose, California; Pueblo, Colorado; Indian River County, Florida;  Hilo, Hawaii;  Bannock County, Idaho; Rochester, Minnesota; Columbus and Scottsbluff, Nebraska; Paterson, New Jersey; Middlesex, North Carolina; Lawton, Oklahoma; Oregon City, Oregon; Washington City, Utah; Manassas Park, Virginia and Seattle, Washington.