Federal agents bust man for massive pill-making operation

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah (AP) " A Utah man has been arrested for what federal agents say is the manufacture of tens of thousands of dangerous opioid pain medication pills a day from his home.

Aaron Michael Shamo, 26, was arrested Tuesday after agents found 70,000 pills in his Cottonwood Heights home that were made to look like oxycodone but actually contained fentanyl. Authorities say they also discovered 25,000 Xanax pills, the anti-anxiety drug.

Shamo sold the pills by shipping them by mail throughout the United States, authorities said. He received shipments of the powdery substance of Fentanyl from China, they say. He has been running the "pill press" for at least the last few months.

Shamo's court-appointed attorney wasn't immediately available for comment.

Brian Besser of the Drug Enforcement Administration told the Deseret News (http://bit.ly/2g3AyGY ) that it is dangerous to sell fentanyl pills to people who think they are getting oxycodone because fentanyl can be deadly to non-opioid users.

Fentanyl was blamed for the death of rock musician Prince earlier this year, authorities said.

It also contributed to the death this year of longtime 3 Doors Down guitarist Matt Roberts, who was found dead in a Wisconsin hotel. An Alabama doctor accused of illegally prescribing drugs to Roberts was charged this month. His attorney says the doctor didn't do anything wrong.

If convicted, Shamo faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

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Information from: Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.com

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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