SAN FRANCISCO – Tony Tan was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine in connection with his sale of counterfeit Adderall pills pressed with methamphetamine on the dark web, announced United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey; Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), San Francisco Field Division, Special Agent in Charge Brian M. Clark; San Francisco Division Postal Inspector in Charge Rafael Nuñez; and IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Oakland Field Office Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Mosley. The sentence was handed down by the Hon. Richard Seeborg, Chief United States District Judge.
Tan, 28, of San Francisco, pleaded guilty to the charge in May 2023. According to his plea agreement, Tan admitted that he operated a dark web vendor site, Adderall123, through which he sold counterfeit Adderall pills that were laced with methamphetamine. Tan admitted the counterfeit Adderall pills were created and stamped in such a way as to mirror legitimate Adderall pills; specifically, they were orange, circular, and pressed with the letters “dp” and the number “30.” Tan sold the drugs to buyers located throughout the United States. Over the years, Tan operated Adderall123 on numerous dark web marketplaces, including Empire, ASAP, White House Market and Torrez. During this time, Tan executed thousands of sales of the counterfeit Adderall pills in various quantities.
Tan’s plea agreement contains additional details of his drug distribution operation. For example, the plea agreement describes how Tan distributed the counterfeit Adderall pills using the United States Postal Service by mailing the drugs in smell-proof bags contained within Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelopes. In addition, the plea agreement describes how Tan recruited others to assist with packaging and mailing the drugs. Further, Tan wrote fake sender names and addresses on the packages and paid postage in cash, all in hopes of thwarting law enforcement efforts to find the sender of the illicit packages. Also, Tan accepted payment for the counterfeit pills in cryptocurrency, which has privacy features that help users anonymize their transaction activity.
On November 12, 2021, federal agents seized two packages mailed by Tan that contained over 640 methamphetamine-pressed Adderall pills—approximately 11.35 grams of actual methamphetamine. On March 29, 2023, Tan was charged by Information with one count of possession with intent to distribute 5 grams and more of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(viii). He pleaded guilty to the charge.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Seeborg ordered Tan to forfeit $17,744 in U.S. currency as well as the cryptocurrency (Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Litecoin) seized from his accounts. Judge Seeborg also ordered Tan to serve three years of supervised release, to begin after his prison term. Judge Seeborg ordered Tan to self-surrender on April 2, 2024, to begin serving his prison term.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristina Green is prosecuting the case, with assistance from Pat Mahoney. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the DEA, CI, and USPIS.