Partner in alleged multimillion-dollar drug ring to remain behind bars

Partner in alleged multimillion-dollar drug ring to remain behind bars

(Tooele County Sheriff's Office)

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SALT LAKE CITY — An alleged partner in a multimillion-dollar opioid ring must remain behind bars pending trial, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Despite strong family support and no criminal history, U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball wasn't persuaded that Drew Wilson Crandall should be released from jail.

Kimball found those factors "less relevant" than allegations that Crandall participated in a large criminal enterprise for more than a year, continued his involvement while traveling abroad and obstructed the investigation.

Prosecutors allege Crandall worked with Aaron Shamo to sell fake prescription-drug pills on the darknet — an area of the internet often used for illegal activity — to thousands of people all over the country, at one point raking in $2.8 million in less than a year.

Agents seized nearly 500,000 pills from Shamo's home in Cottonwood Heights, court documents state. Prosecutors say the agents found guns and more than $1 million in cash stuffed in garbage bags, as well as pills made to look like Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug, and the painkiller Oxycodone.

Crandall pleaded not guilty to three drug charges following his arrest in Hawaii, where he planned to marry his girlfriend after a globe-trotting trip. Prosecutors refute that claim, arguing he left the county for fear of being caught.


Authorities are investigating 28 overdose deaths they say could be connected to the drug ring, though no charges have been filed in the deaths.


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Dennis Romboy
Dennis Romboy is an editor and reporter for the Deseret News. He has covered a variety of beats over the years, including state and local government, social issues and courts. A Utah native, Romboy earned a degree in journalism from the University of Utah. He enjoys cycling, snowboarding and running.


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