Leader Of Utah Dark-Web Opioid Drug Ring Gets Life Sentence
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah man convicted of building a multimillion-dollar dark-web drug ring from his suburban basement has been sentenced to life in prison.
Aaron Shamo was convicted of shipping fake prescription drugs all over the country from his home in suburban Salt Lake City during the nation’s opioid epidemic.
“Aaron Shamo knew the nation was on fire with opioids and he poured fuel on the flames, over and over and over, never getting burned himself, but causing pain and misery wherever his fire spread. Aaron Shamo could be considered the face of the opioid epidemic. He was a profiteer, callously making millions of dollars and living a life of leisure while exploiting those suffering through opioid addiction,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Vernon Stejskal said in closing arguments during the trial.
These zip code dots show locations Shamo mailed fake oxycodone pills to. They represent more drug traffickers who were spreading the fake pills around the nation as the nation's opioid crisis growing. @TheJusticeDept @US_FDA @IRS_CI @DHSgov @UtahAG @USPISpressroom @DEADENVERDiv https://t.co/yUUF63UnqV pic.twitter.com/bTIyvPoBbT
— US Attorney Utah (@DUTnews) October 15, 2020
He was found guilty of a dozen counts in August 2019, including one for running a criminal enterprise that carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
He was sentenced Thursday. The case offered a glimpse at how fentanyl can be imported from China, pressed into fake pills and sold through online black markets to people in every U.S. state.
“Shamo’s drug trafficking organization is a graphic example of the dangers in drug trafficking and the harm it causes individuals, families, and communities. At least 90 of Shamo’s retail customers have died. Because Shamo’s organization supplied pills to other drug distributors on a wholesale basis, it is impossible to know for sure how many have perished in this illicit drug network. Most of Shamo’s profit hinged on fentanyl-laced fake pain pills, and fentanyl is an extraordinarily poisonous substance,” U.S. Attorney John W. Huber said. “Congress mandated the life sentence imposed today, which implies that a bi-partisan majority of our nation’s policymakers agreed on this significant sentence for circumstances like those found in Shamo’s conduct,” Huber said.
KSL-TV contributed to this report.
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