Fake drug supplier gets 21 years without parole
A US man who supplied ingredients to a gang producing counterfeit prescription medicines has been given a lengthy jail sentence.
Fernando "Kalifa" Padilla Becerra (34) was a member of a ring that sourced fentanyl as well as other drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine, and produced fake medicines -including counterfeit Adderall, Xanax and oxycodone - in a San Antonio pill mill.
Becerra - who was part of the Dopeboy210 group that sold illicit medicines on the now-defunct Darkweb marketplace Alphabay, according to Darknetlive.com - was sentenced last week to 21 years in prison, without parole. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 400 grams of fentanyl and more than 500 grams of meth; and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine.
The investigation into the ring began at the University of Texas at San Antonio campus and student housing when police on campus discovered a number of counterfeit pills, says the website.
Alaa Mohammed Allawi (30), reported to be the ringleader of the eight-strong gang, pleaded guilty at a pretrial hearing last month to conspiracy to possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and conspiracy to launder money, after agreeing a deal with prosecutors.
Allawi has agreed to be sentenced to 30 years in prison, the forfeiture of assets including a Maserati and other high-end cars, and a $14m-plus judgment equivalent to the amount of money raised by the ring.
Senior US District Judge David Ezra detailed the number of counterfeit pills sold by the ring between 2015 and 2017 as follows: 359,553 oxycodone pills made with fentanyl; 342,551 Adderall laced with methamphetamine; and 145,395 Xanax based on cocaine.
While living in California, Becerra supplied the San Antonio crew with bulk ingredients for the pill mill, shipping the material directly to Allawi. Some of counterfeit pills the ring supplied resulted in the overdose death of a US Marine in North Carolina, according to court documents.