Queensland “fake pill” trafficker charged in the US

A Brisbane man has been arrested in the US for allegedly being a ringleader of an international drug trafficking operation selling fake prescription pills on the “dark net”.

Drew Wilson Crandall is accused of running the operation out of the basement of a home in Utah and selling the drug via and store operating on the deep web which could only be accessed with special software.

Authorities alledge the 30-year-old and Utah man, Aaron Michael Shamo, 27, manufactured fake prescription oxycodone-type painkiller pills made from fentanyl and distributed them to customers via the US postal system.


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Police allegedly found precursor chemicals, pill press machines, around 70,000 pills with the appearance of oxycodone and more than $1.6 million in cash during raids of the house.

A federal grand jury in Utah returned a superseding indictment charging Crandall, Shamo and four others for their alleged roles in the trafficking organisation.

Crandall is charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and alprazolam and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Court reports show the pair purchased pill presses, dies and stamps to mark pills so the markings would match legitimate pharmaceutical drugs.

They are also accused of importing Fentanyl and Alprazolam into the US illegally from China.