The U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Ohio is preparing to prosecute nearly a dozen people who allegedly made and distributed fake prescription pills containing fentanyl. The DEA says counterfeit pills - which can kill those who take them - is a continuing problem in Ohio and Kentucky.
The Justice Department points to the case of John T. Moore, Jr. as the latest example of an alleged counterfeit pill operation in Green Township. The owner of John T. Moore Construction and Lieutenant Dan (a real estate company) and 10 others are accused of distributing mixtures and substances containing fentanyl and laundering the money to buy homes illegally.
Moore's attorney said he didn't want to comment when WVXU contacted him.
Counterfeit prescription pills have reached a crisis level in the U.S., so much so that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has issued a nationwide alert. Fake oxycodone, Percocet and Adderall are laced with potentially fatal doses of fentanyl. Between January and March 2019, the DEA found 27% contained deadly levels of synthetic drugs.
U.S. Attorney Dave DeVillers is equally concerned. He told WVXU in an earlier interview, "You've got some schmo in his basement mixing fentanyl or carfentanil, cutting it with aspirin and that guy is not going to be any good at it."
Regional DEA Spokesman Brian McNeal says, "You know, homemade labs in someone's basement where they are mixing fentanyl and pressing a pill that looks like you would get at your local pharmacy," says McNeal.
Drug cartels in Mexico are also shipping large quantities into the U.S. "It's being made in a clandestine lab and it contains who knows what," says McNeal.
Police can't arrest their way out of this problem. The DEA is talking to healthcare providers and community organizations to attack it from different angles.
"The drug cartels flooding the Midwest with counterfeit pills are sophisticated operations," said the DEA's Keith Martin in a news release. "Their poisonous pills are made so well, it takes a chemist to determine if a pill is laced with fentanyl or not."
The DEA's getsmartaboutdrugs.gov helps people spot drug trends.