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Press Release

Man Sentenced for Role in International Drug Distribution Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. – A Colorado man was sentenced today to 16 months in prison for participating in an international conspiracy to traffic pharmaceutical drugs into the United States and distribute those drugs throughout the country.

According to court documents, between October 2016 and November 2019, Shaun Michael Kohut, 36, received bulk shipments of pills sent into the United States from abroad by foreign-based actors. Following those actors’ instructions, Kohut would then mail smaller shipments of pills to buyers across the United States and receive payments for his services by accepting money remittances from customers via Western Union and other payment-processing systems.

According to court documents, Kohut is estimated to have been involved in the trafficking or attempted trafficking of close to 400,000 pills between October 2016 and November 2019, including substantial quantities of the Schedule IV opioid tramadol. Kohut came to the attention of federal law enforcement when a buyer in the Eastern District of Virginia was instructed to remit payment to Kohut for the unlawful purchase of alprazolam, also known as Xanax.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division; Peter R. Rendina, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge M. Hannah Lauck.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kevin Elliker and Heather H. Mansfield prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:19-cr-159.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Public Affairs

Updated November 4, 2020

Drug Trafficking
Prescription Drugs