Los Angeles Man Sentenced to Over 26 Years in Prison for Role in Federal Narcotics Conspiracy Involving Counterfeit Opioids
LOS ANGELES – A downtown Los Angeles resident was sentenced today to 320 months in federal prison for participating in a federal drug trafficking conspiracy that imported acetylfentanyl, a drug very similar to the powerful and highly addictive opioid fentanyl. Acetylfentanyl, which is five times more potent that heroin, is not approved for any use in the United States.
Christopher Bowen, 32, was sentenced for his role in a conspiracy to manufacture, possess and distribute four narcotics, specifically: acetylfentanyl; a-pyrrolidinovalerophenone, a so-called designer drug also known as “PVP” that is sometimes used in “bath salts”; ecstasy; and alprazolam, which is commonly sold under the brand name Xanax.
United States District Judge S. James Otero imposed the prison sentence, remarking that the sentence of 26⅔ years reflected the quantities of drugs seized by investigators. During the investigation, DEA agents seized more than 11 kilograms of acetylfentanyl from the organization. The drug organization obtained pill presses from China that were used illegally to make tablets in labs in a storage unit in Long Beach and a house in Baldwin Park.
“The opioid crisis in our country has risen to epidemic proportions in large part due to drug trafficking conspiracies such as this one,” said United States Attorney Nicola T. Hanna. “These dangerous drugs end up in our neighborhoods and pose a significant public health emergency.”
Bowen was sentenced after being convicted on two counts following a jury trial in October 2017. The evidence presented during a trial in United States District Court showed that Bowen and other members of the drug organization imported acetylfentanyl from China, which they then used to produce homemade pills designed to look like legitimate pharmaceuticals. Bowen and his co-conspirators then distributed the pills in bulk across the nation.
The leader of the organization – Gary Resnik, 33, of Long Beach – pleaded guilty in August 2017 and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Otero on July 9.
This case was investigated by the special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael G. Freedman of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Section and David Ryan of the General Crimes Section.