Source: US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Source: US State of California
SANTA ANA, California – A Santa Ana man who admitted his role in a scheme that used fentanyl and other synthetic opioids to manufacture and sell counterfeit pharmaceutical pills designed to look like brand-name oxycodone pills was sentenced this morning to 210 months in federal prison.
Wyatt Pasek, 22, who lived in the penthouse of a luxury high-rise in Santa Ana until his arrest last year, was sentenced by United States District Judge James V. Selna.
Pasek – who used in the moniker “oxygod” when soliciting customers in online marketplaces, and posted images and videos of himself to social media platforms under the moniker Yung10x – pleaded guilty last November to participating in a narcotics-trafficking conspiracy, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and money laundering.
Pasek “caused highly toxic drugs to be mixed into counterfeit pharmaceuticals at a clandestine laboratory in a highly populated residential and commercial area, the Newport Beach Peninsula, and sold the drugs in massive quantities for approximately one year,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court.
According to court documents, Pasek and two co-defendants obtained fentanyl and a similar drug called cyclopropyl fentanyl through internet from Chinese suppliers, used a pill press to make counterfeit pills, and distributed the narcotics through the mails, often arranging sales through a darknet marketplace. Pasek also sold the counterfeit pills in hand-to-hand transactions.
The other two defendants in this case – Duc Cao, 22, of Orange, and Isaiah Suarez, 23, of Newport Beach – also pleaded guilty and were sentenced earlier this year by Judge Selna to 87 months and 37 months in federal prison, respectively.
“The defendants in this case played a direct role in fueling this nation’s opioid crisis,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “The use of powerful drugs such as fentanyl in counterfeit pills intentionally made to look like less-lethal opioids demonstrates a complete disrespect for human life.”
When the three defendants were arrested in April 2018, authorities seized a pill press lab in Suarez’s apartment, along 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.
During a six-month investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and the Costa Mesa Police Department, authorities recovered blue pills stamped “A 215” that resemble 30 mg. oxycodone pills. In the weeks leading up the arrests in this case, investigators intercepted 20 packages that were being sent to Pasek’s customers.
“Had federal agents not intercepted these packages, they would have resulted in substantial counterfeit opioids containing fentanyl and fentanyl analogues to be distributed to New York, California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Texas, Florida, Nevada, Georgia, Utah, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Alabama, and Nebraska,” according to the sentencing memo.
Pasek, who has three prior drug-related convictions, apologized during today’s hearing. “I know I have affected countless [people],” he said. “I can’t even imagine how much damage I have done.”
As part of his plea agreement, Pasek agreed to forfeit to the government a number of items seized in relation to his arrest in April 2018: more than $21,000 in cash; jewelry, 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 he possessed in his Blockchain wallet.
This matter was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS Criminal Investigation, the Costa Mesa Police Department, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigations, the United States Marshals Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brett Sagel of the Santa Ana Branch Office.