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St. George traffic stop yields recovery of counterfeit fentanyl pills

Counterfeit prescription pills laced with deadly doses of fentanyl making way into US, DEA warns
Posted at 1:56 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 15:56:53-05

ST. GEORGE, Utah — A man is in jail after deputies recovered hundreds of counterfeit fentanyl pills during a traffic stop for a moving violation on Interstate 15 in St. George, according to the St. George News.

Early Thursday, a deputy with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office detected the smell of marijuana coming from a car he had stopped on I-15 North of Brigham Road.

The deputy observed the passenger, 22-year-old Dreshaun Ellisemery Moore, began making “furtive movements” toward his pockets and waistband; when he refused to place his hands on the roof of the car, he was handcuffed.

The deputy's report states as he searched Moore, he found a “large bag of pills” and a bag of marijuana.

It was determined that the 400 light blue pills found in the bag were marked as oxycodone, but were actually counterfeit fentanyl pills.

Moore was booked into jail and now faces a second-degree felony charge for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. He remains in custody and is being held without bail. The driver was not arrested.

This is not the first arrest involving conterfeit fentanyl pills in Utah; one of the most high-profile cases was in October 2020 when Cottonwood Heights resident Aaron Michael Shamo was sentenced to life in prison.

A federal jury found Shamo guilty of organizing and directing a drug trafficking organization that imported fentanyl from China.

Shamo distributed the fake fentanyl and counterfeit Xanax tablets for distribution in all 50 states using his storefront, “Pharma-Master” on the Dark Net marketplace.

During the trial it was determined that at least 90 of the defendant’s known customers died from overdoses.