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A Utah Cottonwood Heights man accused of running an international illicit drug ring selling and manufacturing of illegal drugs has been arrested. A four-week jury trial has been scheduled beginning August 20th.
On Wednesday, the attorneys of some of his alleged accomplices said in court that they were still negotiating on some non-contentious issues concerning the case with prosecutors.
Shamo Michael Aaron who is turning 28 appeared in the United States District Court with his attorney Greg Skordas for a status conference. Aaron’s attorney Mr. Greg Skordas indicated that his client had been in custody for 15 months now already.
One of Shamo’s partner in crime, Drew Crandall Wilson, 31, who is also being accused of manufacturing and trafficking controlled substances, is also in custody. According to his attorney, he was still trying to see if he could negotiate a deal with the prosecutors.
“We anticipate and hope that we will come up will a resolution,” Jim Bradshaw, the defense attorney told the court.
Yet another suspect arrested in the same drug ring, Sean Michael Gygi is being charged in the same case. His attorney said that he was negotiating with the prosecutors. “Crucial details about the potential plea agreements have not been discussed and deliberated on,” he said.
“With the execution of a recent search warrant, we have moved a step further with over 40 boxes of filed documents and a significant amount of data of evidence already in our possession,” United State Attorney Mr. Michael Gadd indicated. “I am now working on a list of over 70 witnesses, 3 terabytes of computer data and 500 exhibits for the trial,” he said.
All three suspects are accused of secretly manufacturing and distributing fake prescription drugs in Shamo’s house and selling them on the dark web—a section of the internet that is not indexed and hence misused by criminals to carry out illegal activities—to hundreds of thousands of people globally. The Criminal drug ring only accepted payment via virtual currencies particular bitcoin.
Investigating agencies and prosecution is also looking into a connection between the drug ring and 28 overdose deaths even though no death charges have been filed against them.
In the recent past, drug traffickers had a rough time selling their substances on the streets and it’s now evident they have opted to go online. With the help of the Darknet and cryptocurrencies, they are able to complete their sales. Orders are placed and paid for through the dark web marketplaces and the packages are delivered.
According to court documents, during a search, over 500,000 pills of different drugs including Oxycodone and Xanax were seized from Shamo’s house. A gun and over $1 million in cash kept in garbage bags were found.
Investigators on the case also found a hard drive cache of over $500,000 worth of Bitcoin whose popularity has increased in the recent past due to its anonymity which makes it difficult to trace.