The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that a man from Minnesota has been sentenced to life in prison for selling fentanyl online, resulting in 11 overdose deaths and significant physical injury to four others.
Aaron Broussard, 31, is accused of smuggling fentanyl and other drugs into the United States from China between 2014 and 2016. On his website, PlantFoodUSA.net, which purported to sell plant food, he instead promoted the illegal substances. He shipped the narcotics across the country using a “Click-N-Ship” account with the United States Postal Service.
The DOJ claims that on March 12, 2016, Broussard ordered 100 grams of 4-FA from China. 4-FA is a restricted substance equivalent. As it turned out, the 100 grams of fentanyl supplied contained 99% purity.
Prosecutors claim that Broussard made a similar mistake in August of 2015 and was frequently urged to test his medicines before using them.
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Throughout the United States, he distributed fentanyl to more than 12 consumers between March 31 and April 27, 2016 via branded parcels bearing his name. Customers had requested and were anticipating an Adderall-like substance. At least 11 clients died from fentanyl overdoses after consuming the fentanyl, which they believed to be Adderall. Four other customers were seriously injured.
Even after learning that some of his clients had to be hospitalized and were close to death, Broussard kept mailing them packages and never advised them not to use the narcotics.
Prosecutors allege that Broussard contacted his Chinese drug suppliers and asked for a discount on his next shipment.
In March of 2022, he was found guilty on 17 counts, including conspiracy, importation of fentanyl, possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, distribution of fentanyl resulting in death, distribution of fentanyl resulting in serious bodily injury, and possession with intent to distribute controlled substance analogues.
Let today’s sentencing serve as a wakeup signal to the drug traffickers pushing fentanyl in and around our communities, said DEA Omaha Division Special Agent in Charge Justin C. King in a press release. To put this into perspective, just two milligrams of fentanyl (a few grains of salt’s worth) has the ability to kill a human being. People’s lives are in danger from fentanyl, and those responsible for distributing this poison will be held to account for the harm they’ve caused to individuals, families, and communities.