A Minnesota man is facing federal charges in connection with 11 drug overdose deaths, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Aaron Rhy Broussard, 28, of Hopkins, has been charged with 21 counts related to the distribution of narcotics, including fentanyl, resulting in the deaths of 11 people and serious bodily injury to four others.
Charging documents state that Broussard obtained fentanyl – a powerful synthetic opioid that can cause deadly respiratory problems if too much is consumed or mixed with other substances, including alcohol – through China-based suppliers and sold between 2014 and Dec. 6, 2016.
Broussard is accused of marketing the drugs through various websites and shipped them to buyers through a U.S. Postal Service "Click-N-Ship" account.
On March 12, 2016, Broussard ordered 100 grams of 4-FA (a controlled substance with similar effects to ecstasy, according to The Drug Classroom) that contained approximately 100 grams of fentanyl.
Broussard distributed that product to customers across the U.S. in April 2016, and 11 of his customers who ingested the drug died from fentanyl overdose while four others suffered serious bodily injury.
Even after learning that some of his customers had died, Broussard continued to distribute the drug.
Where the 11 overdose victims were located in the U.S. isn't clear, but the news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office notes that the investigation was assisted by University of Minnesota Police Department, in addition to police in Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas, New York, Florida, California and Georgia.
KSTP reports that one of the victims was a U of M professor who was found dead in his St. Paul office in April 2016.
Broussard has been charged with the following:
- 1 count of drug conspiracy resulting in death/serious bodily injury
- 1 count of importation of 40+ grams of fentanyl
- 1 count of possession with intent to distribute 40+ grams of fentanyl
- 12 counts of distribution resulting in death/serious bodily injury
- 5 counts of possession with intent to distribute controlled substance analogues
- 1 count of possession with intent to distribute 4-EMC
Broussard was arrested Dec. 7, 2016 and is currently in custody in Scranton, Pennsylvania where he's waiting to go on trial May 14 for one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
Broussard is scheduled to be arraigned on the remaining charges at a later date.