A man from Georgia who has been held responsible for the distribution of up to 200,000 counterfeit or fake Xanax pills each month has been sentenced to 20 years in the prison, as stated by the announcement of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The accused Xanax vendor had been identified as Walker Christian Forrester. J. Randal Hall, the U.S. District Court Judge, had sentenced the accused to 240 months or 20 years behind bars on accounts of conspiracy to possess having the intent to distribute the Controlled Substances like Carfentanil, Marijuana and Alprazolam.
“The criminals in this drug trafficking conspiracy distributed massive amounts of dangerous illegal drugs, including deadly synthetic opioids, on the streets of Georgia and beyond through the Dark Web. Our federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies did outstanding work in investigating and shutting down these manufacturers of misery and bringing them to justice.”
— U.S. Attorney Christine.
In the Georgia-based drug trafficking conspiracy, the federal investigators have identified the accused to be the leader of the drug racket. There were other two co-conspirators as well, and all three of them have already received prison sentences for their part in the drug trafficking conspiracy. The co-conspirators have entered into their respective guilty pleas for their respective roles in the drug racket.
- Armand Saedi has pleaded guilty on account of the conspiracy to possess having the Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances, that is Alprazolam.
- Jonathan Lester had been sentenced to 210 months or 17.5 years in prison on accounts of conspiracy to possess having the intent to distribute Controlled Substances like Alprazolam, Carfentanil and Marijuana.
- Kolbie Watters had been sentenced life in prison along with ten years on accounts of conspiracy to possess having the Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances and as well as possession of a firearm apart from the Drug Trafficking Crime.
- Morgan Slaton had been sentenced to three years probation on accounts of conspiracy to possess and the intent to distribute a controlled substance, viz., Alprazolam.
Along with this, all the accused Xanax vendor have received an additional five years of supervised release after the completion of their respective prison sentences.
The feds had reported that the group had produced and distributed drug pills since 2016 and they had also avoided the investigative radar up until September 2017 when the lead conspirator and Xanax vendor, Forrester had placed an order for an additional industrial pill press. The purchase has caught the attention of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and in no time the agency began to investigate Forrester and the other co-conspirators by extension.
Back in November 2017, the cops in Harlem of Georgia had conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle that was driven by Forrester. In the car, there were a juvenile and Watters. While the vehicle search was going on, the police officers had found over 5,200 counterfeit Xanax pills, a specific quantity of marijuana and a shotgun which is sawed-off. It is still not clear if Forrester had illegally owned the short-barreled shotgun.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) requires the owners of the short-barreled shotguns (and short-barreled rifles) to fill up a form and pay for a $200 tax stamp before owning the short-barreled firearm. Holding a short-barreled rifle or shotgun without the approval of BATFE is considered to be a violation of the National Firearms Act (NFA). Forrester had never been charged with a violation of the NFA. Nevertheless, possession of any firearm while committing a drug trafficking crime is illicit (hence, the Possession of a Firearm along with a Drug Trafficking Crime charge).
The investigators have learned that the Xanax vendor Forrester and his co-conspirators had started to manufacture the counterfeit Xanax pills and sold them on the dark web in the year 2016 conducting drug trafficking conspiracy. While their operation is at the peak, the group had produced and distributed over 200,000 pills each month. The operation had yielded profits of nearly $20,000 per month while the operation is at its peak.
The accused Xanax vendor has also admitted to receiving fentanyl packages from China, which he repackaged and shipped them to the dark web vendor in Canada. The Canadian vendor then paid Forrester $10,000 each month against this service. The announcement did not unveil the identity of the Canadian vendor. Still, it had stated that a federal grand jury in the Northern District of Georgia had arrested a Canadian drug dealer.
Also, there is a well-known case in the Northern District of Georgia, that exactly matches the description that has been provided by the Southern District of Georgia’s announcement, United States vs. Arden McCann, who is an alleged Canadian dark web vendor. As per the indictment, McCann has sold Alprazolam, Fentanyl analogues and Fentanyl on almost every major dark web marketplace. The court documents have accused McCann of operating an assortment of the vendor accounts that includes:
Although the sentencing of Forrester was announced as one of the final sentences in the case of the government against Forrester and as well as his co-conspirators, both the members of the group still faces the severe state charges. Back in April 2018, the Georgian state has charged Watters and Lester with the felony murder charges and the aggravated assault charges in relation with the death of Chase David Loffler. He is a suspected co-conspirator residing in Walton County. Both of them are accused of beating and as well as suffocating Loffler. They had also buried Loffler’s body in a shallow grave in the backyard of Lester.
The investigation of the homicide had involved the county, state and the feds along with:
- The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA);
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI);
- The Georgia Bureau of Investigation;
- The United States Secret Service.
- The Walton County Sheriff’s Office;
The list of the law enforcement agencies that have involved in the Forrester Case and his co-conspirator investigation had included a much more extensive list of the law enforcement organizations under The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces or OCDETF and had included:
- Homeland Security Investigations (HSI);
- The Drug Enforcement Administration;
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation
- The Harlem Department of Public Safety
- The Internal Revenue Service or IRS
- The U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command or CID
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations or FDA-OCI
- The U.S. Marshals Service;
- The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS);
“These criminals’ days of selling poison, destroying lives, and spreading violence are over. HSI and its law enforcement partners worked tirelessly to bring an end to this criminal organization that profited by flooding the community with dangerous drugs.”
— HSI Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer
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