florida man pleads guilty to manufacturing and sending synthetic drug to alaska
Anchorage, Alaska – United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced that today, July 27, 2011, Ryan Travis Brown, a resident of Palm Harbor, Florida, pled guilty in federal court to conspiring to distribute 400 grams or more of a substance containing fentanyl. Chief United States District Judge Ralph R. Beistline accepted the guilty plea from Brown, age 30.
According to information presented to the court by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Russo, Brown conspired with Anchorage co-defendants Brackston Moores, Amanda Moss, and Ronnie Adams to distribute the substance, which is similar to a synthetic heroin, between December 2008, and April 22, 2009. Plea documents indicate that the defendant’s role in the conspiracy was to manufacture the substance containing fentanyl using a formula he developed. The substance was created by mixing the fentanyl, which Brown purchased from China, together with other substances including a plant called kratom, diphenydramine, caffeine, and a small amount of morphine. Brown would then send packages of the substance to Anchorage for distribution by Moores, Adams, and Moss, whose cases are still pending in United States District Court in Anchorage.
The plea documents further allege that, during the period of the conspiracy, over 400 grams of fentanyl were shipped, or attempted to be shipped, by Brown from Florida to Alaska. On February 19, 2009, during the period of the conspiracy, M.C., a friend and drug customer of both Moores and Adams, died from an overdose of fentanyl. Analysis of M.C.'s blood revealed traces of kratom, diphenhydramine, caffeine, and morphine, as well as fentanyl. In M.C.'s bedroom, there was also a quantity of the fentanyl mixture, in the same chemical ratios used by Brown to create the substance.
Judge Beistline set sentencing for October 19, 2011. The law provides for a total sentence of up to life in prison, with a mandatory minimum of ten years, and a fine of $4 million dollars for this offense. Under federal sentencing statutes, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Anchorage District Office, the Anchorage Police Department’s Vice Unit, and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of this case. They were assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation laboratory.