UTSA lecturer tied to drug trafficking ring that sold counterfeit pills to students in San Antonio, Austin

AUSTIN, Texas – 13 folks have been arrested and federally indicted for allegedly distributing and promoting unlawful medication to College of Texas college students in Austin and San Antonio, in accordance with federal prosecutors.

In a press convention Friday, U.S. lawyer for the Western District of Texas Gregg Sofer mentioned that present and former College of Texas college students are amongst these arrested for making an attempt to distribute medication like LSD, psilocybin, fentanyl and methamphetamine.

All 13 individuals are being charged with conspiracy to distribute a managed substance and among the people are additionally being charged with cash laundering.

“These prices are the end result of Operation Spiderweb, which started in 2019 when federal, state, and native regulation enforcement officers observed a disturbing enhance within the distribution of counterfeit managed substances,” mentioned Sofer.

Authorities in Austin, in accordance with Sofer, discovered that hundreds of counterfeit tablets have been being distributed across the West campus in Austin, which corresponded with a rise in overdoses reported to native regulation enforcement.

“Two targets of this investigation overdosed and died through the course of the investigation,” Sofer mentioned. “These usually are not tablets being fastidiously manufactured and examined by refined pharmaceutical firms.”

Search warrants have been executed Thursday as a part of Operation Spiderweb and resulted within the seizure of hallucinogenic mushrooms, counterfeit Adderall, counterfeit Xanax, LSD and different medication. Greater than $100,000 in money was additionally seized, together with firearms and ballistic vests.

“Investigators estimate that the general gross sales of the unlawful medication bought by this group exceed $1 million,” Sofer mentioned.

The arrests in Austin are associated to the December 2019 arrest of College of Texas at San Antonio lecturer Rose Rodriguez-Rabin. She, alongside together with her codefendant, Brandon Sims, distributed counterfeit Adderall tablets to UTSA college students and others, Sofer mentioned.

Brandon Sims mugshot (KSAT)

Tens of hundreds of pretend Adderall tablets and manufacturing gear have been allegedly present in a Northwest Facet condominium final December that belonged to Rodriguez-Rabin, who instructed federal brokers on the time that Sims was her roommate.

Federal paperwork obtained by KSAT on the time acknowledged that Rodriguez-Rabin was “believed to be a big distributor of Adderall” in San Antonio and Austin and that she was often called “Irene Adler.”

In response to Sofer, Rodriguez-Rabin provided 23-year-old Varun Prasad “with counterfeit Adderall laced with meth on quite a few events.”

Federal authorities imagine Prasad was the chief of the distribution community and was laundering drug cash with the assistance of an Austin-based actual property investor Benny Daneshjou, 68, who Austin police say helped the group purchase actual property to make use of for protected homes and to retailer medication, in accordance with the Austin-American Statesman.

Houston Particular Agent Steven Whipple mentioned eight “present or former UT college students that have been members of this group” together with “arithmetic majors, chemistry majors, a psychology main, [and] enterprise main.” He famous that the defendants are all effectively educated and mentioned the operation was “refined” in its execution.

“The purpose that we actually would love folks to remove from this investigation,” Whipple mentioned, “is if you ship your youngsters to varsity they usually assume they’re shopping for a prescription capsule, Adderall, to get them via a finals examination, chances are high excessive that it’s not Adderall.”

Whipple mentioned the road medication are extraordinarily harmful as a result of they’re laced with issues which can be extremely addictive and lethal like fentanyl.

“This group did promote some diverted pharmaceutical narcotics, however they couldn’t get sufficient,” Whipple mentioned. “In order that they went the manufacturing route and turned to folks “like Professor [Rodriguez]-Rabin and what she was offering.”

In the course of the search at Rodriguez-Rabin’s condominium, brokers seized 11 kilograms of pretend Adderall and a big capsule press operation. She was charged with manufacturing and distributing roughly 680 grams of Adderall on the time of her arrest and Sims was charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

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