Aaron Shamo started trial on August 12 for controlling a bunch of fentanyl drugs and distributing them to customers in the U.S. and across the globe through the dark web. According to the criminal complaint, Aaron Shamo and Drew Wilson Crandall formed an international drug trafficking organization and knowingly imported fentanyl from China using the dark web. They also manufactured illegal pills and distributed them across the states and even led to dozen of overdose deaths of which he was charged with only one as claimed by reports. He has been indicted of 13 counts including continuing criminal enterprise which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
How the Drug Enterprise Started
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According to the criminal complaint, Aaron Shamo and Drew Wilson Crandall were friends who had been together for a while. They then developed a plan to import and resell steroids, which worked well for them. Later, they turned this mini importation business to a large scale drug enterprise that basically imported fentanyl and alprazolam from China through the dark web, pressed them into pills and sold them to customers.
Aaron Shamo paid people to receive the imported drug packages into their homes and later delivered them to him. The drug enterprise began to enlarge, and he introduced a few other people into the business including Jonathan “Luke” Paz who pleaded guilty to developing recipe and pressed fentanyl-laced pills when Crandall traveled.
Aaron Shamo and Drew Wilson Crandall were largely responsible for cutting the imported powders and adding other fillers to them and pressing them to look like legitimate pharmaceutical products. The pills were then sealed with vacuum sealers and put into boxes with fake return addresses labeled on them. The pills were sold on the dark web store called “Pharma-Master” on the infamous Alphabay market. It was recently reported that the PR for the Alphabay market has been put on trial as well.
According to the court, the dark web business became quite popular as they were processing from 20 to 50 orders a day and sold pills for $20. It was reported that the Pharma-Master dark web store did not only process small orders in envelopes. They shipped a large number of drugs to drug dealers who in return sold them on the street.
On 13 June 2016, some of these distributed fentanyl that came from the Pharma-Master dark web store led to the death of a 21-year-old man identified as R.K., who took fentanyl thinking it was prescribed oxycodone.
Aaron Shamo’s arrest was seen as one of the largest drug arrests ever made. It was reported that Shamo who was the enterprise leader used to pay Drew Wilson Crandall in Bitcoin especially when he was out of town. However, Drew Wilson Crandall at one instant asked Shamo to make a deposit into his bank account instead of his Bitcoin wallet.
The Arrest of Aaron Shamo
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In June 2016, the customs officers intercepted a package discovered to contain fentanyl. According to the reports, authorities discovered from an investigation that the recipient address on the package was actually being used to receive drugs on behalf of Aaron Shamo.
A few months later, authorities confiscated 52 packages of 35,000 fentanyl-laced pills being addressed to 26 states. Later, authorities launched a full-scale search in Aaron Shamo’s residence in November 2016. Authorities discovered about 70,000 pills that appeared as oxycodone. In addition, they found about 25,000 pills that also appeared as alprazolam. In total, the drug organization distributed about 800,000 pills across the country according to a report released by the U.S. Justice Department.
Aaron Shamo was indicted of 13 counts such as three counts of abetting and aiding the importation of controlled substances, one count of possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute, two counts of knowing and intentional adulteration of drugs while held for sale, one count of manufacture of a controlled substance and many others. It has been reported that the minimum sentence for these charges ranges from 5 years to 40 years.
In a statement made by Mike Shamo, the father of the defendant, Aaron Shamo has started a campaign in custody, calling on religious bodies to write a letter of hope to inmates assuring them of life after prison. Mike Shamo also assured that he would be at the court to support his son. He stated that he expects equality to reign, and also expects the equal ruling to anyone found guilty.
Drew Wilson Crandall earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute alprazolam, conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and conspiracy to money laundering. Drew Wilson Crandall also admitted to being an active operator on the dark web store even after leaving Utah. He admitted to acting as a customer support agent to Aaron Shamo’s dark web vendors. He also admitted to playing different roles with Shamo and other co-conspirators to sell the drugs.
Source: VOICE OF AMERICA (VOA)
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