Xanax Vendor Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison

Xanax

According to a press release from the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, a Georgia man who is responsible for distributing as much as 200,000 counterfeit Xanax pills every month, he was sentenced 20 years in a federal penitentiary.

Walker Christian Forrester was sentenced to 240 months in prison for Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to distribute Carfentanil, Alprazolam, and marijuana. The sentencing was done by U.S. District Court Chief Judge J. Randal Hall.

“The criminals in this drug trafficking conspiracy distributed massive amounts of dangerous illegal drugs, including deadly synthetic opioids, on the streets of Georgia and beyond through the Dark Web. Our federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies did outstanding work in investigating and shutting down these manufacturers of misery and bringing them to justice.”

— U.S. Attorney Christine.

Forrester was identified as the leader of a Georgia-based drug trafficking conspiracy. Federal investigators identified three co-conspirators along with Forrester who have already received prison sentences for their roles in the conspiracy as the remaining co-conspirators have entered guilty pleas for similar crimes. The co-conspirators and are:

Kolbie Watters who was sentenced to life in prison plus ten years. He was sentenced for Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Controlled Substances, and the Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime.

Morgan Slaton who was sentenced to three years’ probation for Conspiracy to Distribute and for Possession with Intent to Distribute Alprazolam.

Jonathan Lester who was sentenced to 210 months in prison for Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Carfentanil, Alprazolam, and marijuana.

Armand Saedi who pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Alprazolam.

All of the defendants were given an additional five years of supervised release after they complete their prison sentences.

The group produced and distributed pills in 2016, and they caught the attention of investigators in September 2017 when Forrester ordered an additional industrial pill press. This purchase caught the attention of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This lead to the DEA investigating Forrester and the other co-conspirators by extension.

Forrester was stopped on November 2017 by police officers in Harlem, Georgia, who stopped him as he was driving. Watters and a juvenile were also in the car with Forrester. A search of the vehicle lead police officers to finding more than 5,200 counterfeit Xanax pills, some marijuana, and a sawed-off shotgun. It is not clear if Forrester legally owned the short-barreled shotgun.

Owners of short-barreled shotguns (and short-barreled rifles) are required to license them by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE). A $200 tax stamp is required prior to owning the short-barreled firearm. Owning a short-barreled rifle or shotgun without the BATFE’s approval is a crime that violates the National Firearms Act (NFA). Forrester was never charged with a violation of the NFA. However, possession of any firearm while committing a drug trafficking crime is illegal (hence the Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime charge).

Investigators discovered that Forrester and his partners started manufacturing fake Xanax pills and selling them on the darkweb in 2016. At the height of their operation, the group produced and distributed more than 200,000 pills monthly. Forrester and his partners made profits of almost $20,000 every month during the peak of operations.

Forrester also received packages of fentanyl from China, repackaged the received narcotic, and shipping the package to a dark web vendor in Canada. Forrester was paid $10,000 every month for this service. The vendor in Canada was not named, but a federal grand jury in the Northern District of Georgia indicted the Canadian drug trafficker.

Xanax Case Linked to the dark web

There is a case in the Northern District of Georgia that matches the description provided by the Southern District of Georgia’s announcement. The case is: United States v. Arden McCann, McCann is an alleged darkweb vendor from Canada. According to the indictment, McCann sold alprazolam, fentanyl analogs and fentanyl on almost every darkweb marketplace. McCann was accused of operating an assortment of vendor accounts, including:

  • TheMailMan
  • DRXanax
  • XanaxLabs
  • Pasitheas
  • WhiteYellowGreen
  • XanaxBlotters
  • and RCQueen.

Forrester’s sentencing was announced as one of the final sentences in the government’s case against Forrester and his partners, two members of the group are still facing serious state charges.

Lester and Watters killed a co-conspirator Chase Davis Loffler, in April 2018. Lester and Watters beat and suffocated Loffler and buried his body in a shallow grave in Lester’s backyard. The state of Georgia charged them with felony murder charges and aggravated assault charges in connection with the death.

The investigation into the homicide was huge and involved county, state, and federal law enforcement, they are:

  • the Georgia Bureau of Investigation
  • the Walton County Sheriff’s Office
  • the Drug Enforcement Administration
  • the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • and the United States Secret Service.

The list of agencies which investigated Forrester and his co-conspirators is much larger, they are:

  • Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
  • the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • the Drug Enforcement Administration
  • the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command (CID)
  • the Harlem Department of Public Safety
  • the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI)
  • the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS)
  • and the U.S. Marshals Service.

“These criminals’ days of selling poison, destroying lives, and spreading violence are over. HSI and its law enforcement partners worked tirelessly to bring an end to this criminal organization that profited by flooding the community with dangerous drugs.”

— HSI Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer

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