ROCHESTER — A Randolph man has been sentenced to 7½ years in prison for his role in what federal officials call a large-scale opioid manufacturing and trafficking organization in the Southern Tier of New York and northern Pennsylvania.
Scott K. Fairbanks, 29, was sentenced Wednesday on a federal conviction of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 100 grams or more of a fentanyl analogue, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey.
Also in the case, Jesus Rivera, 26, of Elmira, 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 nine years in federal prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr.
Harvey, who handled the case, said Fairbanks and Rivera were mid-level distributors in the illegal narcotics operation between 2015 and May 2017. The reach of the ring extended to New York City and Charlotte, N.C., the feds report.
Harvey said 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.
The U.S. Attorney said at least two people — a 21-year-old woman and a 25-year-old man — died after ingesting the pills containing furanyl fentanyl and U-47700.
In addition, at least one individual overdosed on more than one occasion after using the pills manufactured and distributed by the organization, but survived after being treated by first responders with Narcan.
To date, 16 members and associates of the opioid manufacturing and trafficking operation have been convicted of federal narcotics offenses, and with Wednesday’s sentencing, a total of 13 defendants have been imprisoned.