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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Iowa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 7, 2018

Two Men Plead Guilty to Possessing “Dark Web” Counterfeit Carfentanil Pills Intended for Distribution

Pills Disguised as Oxycodone Actually Contained Elephant Tranquilizer

Two man who sold counterfeit carfentanil pills have pled guilty in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Cameron James Lensmeyer, age 20, from Waverly, Iowa, was convicted of possession with intent to distribute carfentanil and marijuana.  Evan Paul Sage, age 20, from Waverly, Iowa, was convicted of possession with intent to distribute carfentanil, cocaine, and marijuana, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

In a plea agreement, Lensmeyer admitted that he and Sage purchased hundreds of purported prescription pills, including purported oxycodone and alprazolam pills, through a “dark web” marketplace.  Evidence at an earlier hearing showed that, during a search of Lensmeyer’s and Sage’s shared Cedar Falls residence in June 2017, investigators seized over 800 blue pills that appeared to be prescription oxycodone pills (depicted below), over $20,000 in cash, over 30 grams of cocaine, over 600 grams of marijuana, and a loaded .32 caliber handgun.  Later testing determined that most of the blue pills contained carfentanil, while a smaller amount contained another synthetic fentanyl called cyclopropyl fentanyl.  Carfentanil is a powerful narcotic that is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl.  It is not approved for human use, but is used as an elephant tranquilizer.

carfentanil

United States Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr. stated, “Counterfeit prescription pills have become all too common.  A pill may look like a prescription drug, but unless it was prescribed by a legitimate health care provider, looks can be deceiving.”  Deegan added, “Pills purchased off the Internet or from the street often contain drugs far more powerful and dangerous than the purchaser may realize.  These pills can kill.”

Sentencing before United States District Court Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Lensmeyer and Sage remain in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.  On the drug charge, each man faces a possible maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, a $1,000,000 fine, a $100 special assessment, and up to a lifetime of supervised release following any imprisonment.  Sage also faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, consecutive to any term of imprisonment on the drug count, and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, $100 special assessment, and up to 5 years of supervised release.

The case is being investigated by the Tri‑County Drug Enforcement Task Force and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Chatham.

Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl

The case file number is 18-CR-2004-LRR.

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Topic(s): 
Opioids
Prescription Drugs
Firearms Offenses
Component(s): 
Updated May 7, 2018