A Hopkins man will serve a life sentence after he distributed drugs that had fentanyl in them, causing 11 overdose deaths and serious bodily injury to four others.
According to the office of Minnesota's U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger, 31-year-old Aaron Rhy Broussard was convicted on 17 counts, including conspiracy and distribution of fentanyl causing death.
"Your disregard for human life is terrifying," Senior U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson told Broussard during the sentencing hearing.
The news release notes that the investigation was assisted by the University of Minnesota Police Department, in addition to police in Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas, New York, Florida, California and Georgia.
KSTP reported that one of the victims was a University of Minnesota professor who was found dead in his St. Paul office in April 2016.
Charges state that Broussard conspired with China-based suppliers to smuggle the drugs into the country between 2014 and December 2016. He made sales by marketing them for sale on a website, PlantFoodUSA.net, under the likeness of selling plant food. He used the mail and postal service "Click-N-Ship" account to send out packages of the drugs around the country.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says in March 2016, Broussard placed a drug order for 100 grams of 4-FA — a controlled substance with similar effects to ecstasy, according to the Drug Classroom. The package contained 100 grams of 99% pure fentanyl. Broussard reportedly experienced a similar mix-up in August 2015 and was told repeatedly to test his drugs, but he didn't.
During a timeframe of March 31 and April 27, 2016, Broussard sent branded packages containing the deadly drug to more than a dozen customers throughout the United States. The customers who ordered the package thought they were getting an amphetamine analogue, similar to Adderall, according to the charges.
After they ingested the drug, believing it was Adderall, 11 of the customers died from a fentanyl overdose, with at least four suffering serious bodily injuries.
According to the charges, Broussard continued to distribute the packages despite hearing about adverse reactions from customers.
“Eleven lives lost. Families, friends, and communities forever changed by the devastation brought on by Aaron Broussard’s deadly fentanyl. Although the trauma felt by the victims can never be undone and the true cost can never be calculated, Mr. Broussard will now spend the remainder of his life behind bars,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.
Broussard was convicted of the following charges:
- Importation of fentanyl
- Possession with intent to distribute fentanyl
- Distribution of fentanyl resulting in death
- Distribution of fentanyl resulting in serious bodily injury
- Possession with intent to distribute controlled substance analogues.