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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 16, 2022

Fentanyl Trafficker Sentenced for Distribution of 30,000 ‘Pressed’ Pills

ABINGDON, Va. – A Smyth County, Virginia man, who ordered approximately 30,000 fentanyl pills from California and sold them in Southwest Virginia, was sentenced today to 42  months in federal prison. He will also pay the United States a $50,000 monetary judgement.

Zachary Ryan Hutton, 21, of Marion, Virginia, pleaded guilty in March 2022 to knowingly possessing with the intent to distribute, as well as distributing, 400 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing fentanyl.

According to court documents, law enforcement began investigating a flood of illegal pills in Smyth County, Virginia that resembled pharmaceutical-grade oxycodone pills that were inconsistent in size, shape, and color, indicating they were counterfeit pills. The investigation revealed that the active ingredient in these “pressed” pills was fentanyl. Pills of this type are sometimes referred to as “Roxicodone,” “pressed,” or “M30” pills and often have an imprint of an “M” on one side and a “30” on the other side. 

In June 2021, the U.S. Postal Service–Office of Inspector General intercepted a package addressed to “Ryan Hutton” at the residence of Hutton’s grandmother in Marion. The package contained approximately 561 grams of pressed fentanyl pills.

Law enforcement conducted a controlled delivery of the package, at which time Hutton was arrested and found to be in possession of an additional 798 pressed pills. During the subsequent investigation, law enforcement learned that Hutton had ordered fentanyl pills by mail for at least four months, received approximately 30,000 pills during that time frame, and paid a source in California $20,000 for the most recent package. 

United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh of the Western District of Virginia, Stanley M. Meador, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division, Damon E. Wood, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Washington Division, and Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Washington Division made the announcement.

The Smyth County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Postal Service–Office of the Inspector General, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Whit D. Pierce prosecuted the case.

Updated September 16, 2022