United States prosecutors have charged 11 people for their alleged roles in an international drug trafficking conspiracy that involved the movement of fentanyl and other deadly drugs across the Ohio Valley.
According to federal prosecutors, 43-year-old Brian Lumbus Jr. — who is currently serving a 10-year sentence — led an elaborate international and interstate drug ring from the confines of an Ohio prison from 2016 until November of this year. Lumbus allegedly ordered hundreds of pounds of dangerous synthetic drugs from Italian resident Giancarlo Miserotti to be imported into the U.S. and distributed by co-conspirators in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee and elsewhere.
According to court records, some of the illicit substances were imported from China to Italy and then to the U.S., in attempt to avoid attracting the attention of American customs officials. Some of the drugs were also imported from India and Mexico, according to the indictment.
Investigators with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction discovered evidence of the drug operation in their institution and immediately alerted the Ohio State Highway Patrol and federal investigators about the criminal activity. It was determined that U.S.-based co-conspirators had received foreign shipments of the drugs after paying Miserotti in Bitcoin cryptocurrency.
"As alleged in today’s indictment, the defendants orchestrated an international conspiracy to peddle fentanyl and other deadly drugs across the Ohio Valley, with complete disregard for the lives of their victims," Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said in a statement. "Alongside our law enforcement partners across the country and around the world, the Justice Department will relentlessly pursue all those who seek to profit from poisoning Americans — including when they try to exploit international boundaries and digital currencies to disguise their illicit trade."
In the 34-count indictment, all 11 defendants face charges including possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, interstate racketeering and international money laundering conspiracy.
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