Instagram 'influencer' gets long jail term for selling fentanyl pills

A man from Santa Ana, California, has been sentenced to 210 months in federal prison for selling counterfeit pills containing fentanyl.

Wyatt Pasek (22) – who sold the fake opioid pills as ‘oxygod’ on online marketplaces and attracted followers as an influencer (known as Yung10x) on Instagram – pleaded guilty last November to participating in a narcotics-trafficking conspiracy, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and money laundering.

According to court documents, Pasek and two co-defendants – Duc Cao (22) and Isaiah Suarez (23) - obtained fentanyl and cyclopropyl fentanyl from Chinese suppliers via the Internet and used it to produce fake oxycodone and Xanax (alprazolam).

They used a pill press to make counterfeit pills at clandestine lab in Newport Beach Peninsula, and distributed the narcotics through the mail, often arranging sales through a darknet marketplace. Pasek also sold the counterfeit pills in hand-to-hand transactions.

The Department of Justice said Pasek and his co-defendants sold “massive quantities” of the counterfeit oxycodone and Xanax tablets, but has not speculated how much the trio made from the scam.

Opioids were involved in almost 400,000 overdose deaths in the US from 1999 to 2017, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

When Pasek, Cao and Suarez were arrested last year they were discovered with bags that contained nearly 100,000 counterfeit oxycodone pills, hundreds of bogus Xanax pills, nearly six kilograms of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues, and bundles of cash.

As part of the plea agreement to limit his jail term to 17 ½ years, Pasek agreed to forfeit a number of items seized in relation to his arrest including more than $21,000 in cash; jewellery, including a Silver Royal Offshore watch with diamonds, and a gold and diamond Bitcoin necklace; two gold bars seized from his mother’s residence; and thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency/Bitcoin.

Cao and Suarez also pleaded guilty in connection with the criminal activities and were sentenced to 87 months and 37 months in federal prison, respectively, earlier this year.

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