A Hopkins man has been charged with selling fentanyl and other drugs that killed 11 people and harmed four.
According to a federal indictment issued Thursday, Aaron Rhy Broussard, 28, bought drugs from China-based suppliers, then repackaged and sold them domestically from 2014 to 2016. He marketed the substances online and distributed them to people using U.S. mail and a postal service “Click-N-Ship” account, authorities say.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that on March 12, 2016, Broussard ordered 100 grams of 4-FA, which was shipped from China and contained about 100 grams of the synthetic opioid fentanyl. He allegedly sent packages with fentanyl to customers around the nation for most of April, even after learning that some had overdosed.
Opioid deaths in Minnesota rose from 396 in 2016 to 422 in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and deaths related to synthetic drugs such as fentanyl rose from 99 to 184 during that period. The pain reliever is up to 100 times stronger than morphine.
China, a common source of fentanyl distributed in the United States, announced in April that it would start regulating all fentanyl-related drugs as controlled substances.
Authorities spanning Florida, California, Georgia, New York, Illinois, Wisconsin and Texas investigated the case along with the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and University of Minnesota police.
Broussard was indicted on one count of drug conspiracy resulting in death/serious bodily injury, one count of importation of 40-plus grams of fentanyl, one count of possession with intent to distribute 40-plus grams of fentanyl, 12 counts of distribution resulting in death/serious bodily injury, five counts of possession with intent to distribute controlled substance analogues and one count of possession with intent to distribute the controlled substance 4-EMC.
Broussard was arrested in Minnesota in 2016. He is in custody in Scranton, Pa., and is scheduled to stand trial in May in that state on one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.