Cerritos man accused of running two labs that made counterfeit pills containing fentanyl – Orange County Register

A federal grand jury has indicted a Cerritos man for allegedly operating two labs in the Los Angeles area that manufactured counterfeit fentanyl pills, which were then sold online as other prescription drugs to unwitting customers, officials said Monday , November 21st

Christopher Hampton, 36, who prosecutors believe has been active in multiple dark web markets since January 2021, mainly under the online alias “Narco710,” faces 11 charges, officials said at a news conference.

Authorities said Hampton bought fentanyl in bulk and organized a network of people to run labs in Inglewood and Compton. A high-speed pill press manufactured the fake pills, which resembled oxycodone pills that actually had fentanyl and methamphetamine laced in them.

Investigators said they discovered nearly $1.5 million in wins in two of Hampton’s nine online accounts, according to court documents.

Hampton, who the grand jury indicted Friday, was arrested Nov. 2. During the course of the investigation, six search warrants led to the seizure of 450 pounds of alleged narcotics, six pill presses, illegal firearms and more than 20,000 multi-colored pills containing fentanyl, authorities said.

All 11 charges were related to distribution, conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and methamphetamine, and maintaining drug distribution premises. If convicted, he could face a life sentence.

The case highlighted what local, state, and federal agencies are calling a growing and life-threatening problem across the region.

In Los Angeles County, 1,600 people died from fentanyl poisoning in 2021. In Orange County, deaths have increased 500% in the past three years, US Attorney Martin Estrada said.

Jamie Puerta, President of Victims of Illicit Drugs, and his wife Denise lost their 16-year-old son Daniel Puerta-Johnson on April 6, 2020 to fentanyl poisoning.

LA Sheriff’s Department investigators told the family that half of a blue pill that looked like oxycodone was found on Daniel’s dresser in his bedroom. When tested, the pill contained no medicinal oxycodone – only fentanyl and fillers.

Puerta urged specific fentanyl education in all schools to combat what has become one of the leading causes of death among young people.

https://www.ocregister.com/2022/11/21/cerritos-man-accused-of-running-2-labs-that-made-fake-pills-laced-with-fentanyl/ Cerritos man accused of running two labs that made counterfeit pills containing fentanyl – Orange County Register

Dais Johnston

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