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Justice News

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

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Wise Resident Pleads Guilty to Opioid Importation Related Charges

Kristofer Rucinski Obtained Fentanyl Analogues From China

Abingdon, VIRGINIA – United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen announced today that Kristofer Rucinski, 35, of Wise, Virginia, entered a guilty plea today in the United States District Court in Abingdon.  Rucinski pleaded guilty to one count of using a communications facility to unlawfully import fentanyl and fentanyl analogues. 

“Fentanyl and other deadly opioids have contributed to a public-health crisis in Western Virginia,” United States Attorney Cullen stated today. “We will continue to prosecute those who attempt to import these and other deadly drugs into the United States.”                                                                                                   

According to evidence presented by Assistant United States Attorney Zachary Lee at today’s guilty plea hearing, Rucinski ordered and attempted to order fentanyl analogues over the internet to be delivered to his residence in Wise, Va.  On February 15, 2018, Customs and Border Patrol officers intercepted a package sent from China containing a quantity of a fentanyl analogue that was addressed to Rucinski in Wise.  A controlled delivery of the package was made on February 21 2018 at Rucinski’s residence, which resulted in a search warrant being executed at his residence and, ultimately Rucinski’s arrest. Additional analogue substances were located in the residence.  Rucinski was interviewed by law enforcement and admitted that he had been ordering these drugs off the internet and using Bitcoin to pay for the drugs. 

Rucinski is scheduled to be sentenced on October 11, 2018.  He faces a potential maximum sentence of four years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

The investigation of the case was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Patrol, United States Postal Inspection Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, Wise Police Department and the Virginia State Police.  Assistant United States Attorney Zachary Lee will prosecute the case for the United States.

Updated July 19, 2018