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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Oregon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Portland Man Sentenced to 100 Months in Federal Prison for Illegally Importing Fentanyl from China

PORTLAND, Ore.—John William Schantz, 28, of Portland, was sentenced today to 100 months in federal prison and four years’ supervised release for illegally importing fentanyl from China for the purpose of making and selling counterfeit prescription pills.

According to court documents, in November 2017, a U.S. Postal Inspection Service inspector discovered a suspicious package addressed to Schantz’s girlfriend at the U.S. Postal Service Portland Air Cargo Center. The inspector noted that the package was listed as containing a “pants zipper,” but felt like it contained a powdery substance. Agents from Homeland Security Investigations and officers from the Portland Police Bureau’s Drugs and Vice Division were called to investigate.

After finding that the package contained a white powdery substance, investigators transported it to the Oregon State Police Laboratory for further examination in a safe environment. The lab later determined the package contained approximately 102 grams of para-fluoroisobutryl fentanyl, a powerful opioid and Schedule I controlled substance. Investigators soon learned that between August and November 2017, there were 16 additional parcels shipped to Schantz’s residence. Of those, at least four were associated with known sources of controlled substances and pill manufacturing equipment.

On November 29, 2019, investigators conducted a controlled delivery of the package, now containing an inert substance, to Schantz’s residence. Investigators searched Schantz’s residence and seized two pill presses, a Ruger semi-automatic .22 caliber handgun, 245 rounds of .22 caliber ammunition, approximately 800 assorted counterfeit oxycodone and valium pills, various binding agents, die casts, digital scales and $1,142 in cash. When interviewed, Schantz admitted ordering fentanyl on the internet and having it shipped to his residence in his girlfriend’s name to avoid detection.

On July 16, 2019, Schantz pleaded guilty to one count of unlawfully importing a controlled substance.

This case was investigated by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Interdiction Taskforce, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Portland Police Bureau Drugs and Vice Division. It was prosecuted by Scott M. Kerin, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

The Oregon HIDTA program was established by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in June of 1999. In 2015 the program expanded into Idaho and was renamed the Oregon-Idaho HIDTA. The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA consists of 14 counties and the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. Counties in the HIDTA include Oregon’s Clackamas, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Lane, Linn, Malheur, Marion, Multnomah, Umatilla and Washington counties, and Idaho’s Ada, Bannock and Canyon counties.

Opioid abuse affects communities across the nation. The CDC reports that in 2017, there were 70,237 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. Opioids and synthetic opioids were alone responsible for 47,600 overdose deaths or nearly 68% of all overdoses. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of injury or death in the United States.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 80 to 100 times more powerful than morphine and 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin. A 3-milligram dose of fentanyl—a few grains of the substance—is enough to kill an average adult male.

If you or someone you know suffers from addiction, please call the Lines for Life substance abuse helpline at 1-800-923-4357 or visit www.linesforlife.org. Phone support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also text “RecoveryNow” to 839863 between 8am and 11pm Pacific Time daily.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated September 18, 2019