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Two members of Elmira drug ring sentenced to federal prison

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Two more members of a deadly Elmira opioid trafficking ring were sentenced to several years in federal prison on Wednesday.

U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced that Jesus Rivera, 26, of Elmira, NY, who was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 10 grams or more of a fentanyl analogue, was sentenced to serve nine years in federal prison.

Scott K. Fairbanks, 29, of Randolph, NY, who was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 100 grams or more of a fentanyl analogue, to serve seven and a half years in federal prison.

Since the raid in May 2017, 16 members have been convicted and 13 have been sentenced for their roles in the ring.

Rivera and Fairbanks were mid-level distributors in a large-scale opioid manufacturing and trafficking organization in the Southern Tier of New York and northern Pennsylvania between 2015 and May 2017.

As part of the conspiracy, the leaders of the organization, Robert Ian Thatcher and Maximillian Sams, imported bulk quantities of furanyl fentanyl, acetyl fentanyl, and U-47700 from overseas suppliers in China.

They ordered the drugs on what is known as “the dark web,” and used different people and addresses in New York and Pennsylvania to receive the shipments.

Rivera arranged for some of his friends and associates to receive packages of controlled substances from overseas on behalf of Thatcher and Sams. Thatcher and Sams purchased equipment and materials – including pill presses/mechanical tableting machines, microcrystalline cellulose, lactose magnesium stearate, and powdered food coloring – which they used to manufacture tens of thousands blue pills containing furanyl fentanyl, acetyl fentanyl and U-47700.

The pills were made to look like legitimate 15 milligram and 30 milligram Percocet pills.

At least two individuals – a 21 year old female, and a 25 year-old male – died after ingesting the blue pills containing furanyl fentanyl and U-47700. In addition, at least one individual overdosed on more than one occasion after using the blue pills manufactured and distributed by the organization, but survived after being treated by first responders with Narcan.

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