According to the Justice Department, a Hopkins man was given a life sentence on Monday for supplying fentanyl that killed 11 individuals who had purchased it under the impression that it was a less harmful substance.
In a press release, authorities said that the man, Aaron Broussard, 31, bought fentanyl from Chinese drug dealers and colluded with them to bring the lethal substance into the country while selling it on his website.
The Justice Department said that he sent it across the nation by mail, and the 11 recipients—who had hoped to get an Adderall substitute that was less harmful—used it. Instead, they took a deadly dose of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid manufactured in the lab that is 50 times more potent than heroin and nearly 100 times more potent than morphine. Prosecutors said that the medicines supplied by Broussard also caused four other individuals to suffer significant injuries in addition to the overdose deaths.
The life sentence was given by U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson. According to the prosecution, Broussard was admonished by the district court in St. Paul, “Your disrespect for human life is alarming.”
When contacted for comment, the Office of the Federal Defender in the District of Minnesota, who defended Broussard, did not do so right away.
American courts found Broussard guilty in March. The Justice Department said that the defendants were accused in District Court in St. Paul of 17 felony offenses, including conspiracy, fentanyl importation, and distribution of the drug that killed the victim.
On March 12, 2016, Broussard ordered 100 grams of a less harmful medication from China. The Justice Department said that the shipment really included 100 grams of 99% pure fentanyl.
Although Broussard had been repeatedly instructed to test his medicines after a similar mix-up in August 2015, the Justice Department said that he chose not to.
The repackaged fentanyl was sent by Broussard from a post office in Hopkins between March 31 and April 27, 2016, according to the Justice Department. Prosecutors said that he would react to internet orders made on his fictitious plant food website, PlantFoodUSA.Net.
In Grand Rapids, Michigan, one victim had a heart attack and eventually passed away in a hospital. According to the Justice Department, the victim’s mother pointed out to police a little plastic baggie in her son’s room that contained a white crystalline substance that ultimately tested positive for fentanyl.
On the campus of the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, a second victim, a professor, passed away in his office. And in Scranton, Pennsylvania, authorities claimed a 26-year-old woman accidentally overdosed on fentanyl and her away.
Prosecutors said in a request for detention that “several of these consumers died, or were otherwise overtaken, within minutes after eating the pills he provided them.” There probably isn’t a drug offence that is more severe.
Despite learning that his product was having negative effects, Broussard allegedly continued to sell it.
The Justice Department said that Broussard never advised his clients not to take the lethal pills “even after he heard that numerous customers had been hospitalized and almost died.”
Later, according to the prosecution, Broussard contacted his Chinese suppliers and asked for a discount on his next heroin supply.
In a statement, Minnesota’s US attorney, Andrew M. Luger, said that the friends and families of the victims had been devastated by Broussard’s acts.
Although the victims’ pain cannot be undone and the real cost will never be known, Luger added, “Mr. Now, Broussard will live out the rest of his days in prison.