Two Indians charged for role in fentanyl distribution in US


Two Indians have been charged for their role in distributing fentanyl and laundering drug proceeds with the help of a New Jersey-based middleman who pleaded guilty before a District Court in Southern Illinois. Moises A. Sanabria (32) admitted on Tuesday that he acted as a middleman between an India-based pharmaceutical distribution company and customers in the US.

Sanabria pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and one count of money laundering conspiracy in a case that named Indian nationals Aashish K. Jain (37) and M. Eshwar Rao (40) as co-defendants.

Jain has been additionally charged with one count of distribution of a controlled substance.

According to court documents, Sanabria received pills containing furanyl fentanyl and tapentadol to New Jersey from the pharmaceutical drug distribution center in India and then shipped orders directly to US customers between January 2018 and March 2021.

On multiple occasions, Sanabria shipped orders to undercover agents for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) working in the Southern District of Illinois.

To exchange currency between the US and India for drug proceeds, Sanabria established a limited liability company based in New York to transfer money.

The LLC held and concealed $114,334 in drug proceeds from January to October 2021.

“This man fooling people into thinking that pharmaceutical medications can be purchased without a prescription and mailed from India is not someone to buy anything from,” said Acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael E. Rehg, head of DEA enforcement operations in southern Illinois.

“Laundering his illegal proceeds back to India is just another example of how these international criminal organizations illegally profit off Americans,” Rehg added.

Regulated federally under the Controlled Substances Act, furanyl fentanyl is on Schedule I and tapentadol is on Schedule II.

Money-laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and distribution of a controlled substance are all punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment.

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