LOS ANGELES – The leader of a narcotics distribution ring that imported a powerful fentanyl analogue from China and produced hundreds of thousands of opioid pills that were distributed in bulk across the nation was sentenced yesterday to 320 months in federal prison.
Gary Resnik, 33, of Long Beach, led a conspiracy that imported acetylfentanyl, a drug very similar to fentanyl, a powerful and highly addictive opioid. Acetylfentanyl, which is many times more potent that heroin, is not approved for any legal use in the United States.
Resnik pled guilty in August 2017 to two felony offenses – conspiracy to manufacture and distribute narcotics (including acetylfentanyl and ecstasy), and possession with the intent to distribute acetylfentanyl.
According to court documents, Resnik “was the leader of a conspiracy to manufacture, possess with intent to distribute, and distribute hundreds of thousands of pills designed to look like legitimate pharmaceuticals such as Vicodin and OxyContin, but which actually contained highly potent, illegal drugs that defendant imported from China,” including acetylfentanyl, ecstasy, alprazolam, and a designer drug known on the street as PVP.
“Resnik led a sophisticated operation that used dangerous Chinese-made chemicals to manufacture counterfeit pharmaceuticals,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “Through his makeshift labs, he put thousands of fentanyl analogue pills on the streets, risking the lives of unsuspecting people. This sentence is well-deserved.”
When he pled guilty last year, Resnik admitted to importing from China bulk chemicals, including acetylfentanyl, that were used to manufacture opioid pills. His drug organization also illegally imported pill presses from China that were used to make pills in homemade labs in a Long Beach storage unit and Baldwin Park house. Resnik acknowledged that drug enforcement agents seized over 11 kilograms of acetylfentanyl from the Long Beach lab in addition to other large quantities of acetylfentanyl and other illegal drugs from both labs.
“Mr. Resnik preyed on our communities by flooding our streets with fentanyl. Today's lengthy prison sentence is appropriate and further emphasizes the dangers that fentanyl and opioids pose to our communities,” said DEA Los Angeles Acting Special Agent in Charge Daniel C. Comeaux. “The DEA will tirelessly collaborate with our local, state and federal counterparts to take vicious drug traffickers, like Mr. Resnik, off the street.”
Over the course of nine months in 2015 and 2016, Resnik's organization sold approximately 40,000 to 45,000 pills each month, for between $4 to $8 per pill, according to prosecutors.
On one occasion during the course of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, authorities seized narcotics – including thousands of opioid pills containing acetylfentanyl, alprazolam pills, and ecstasy pills – from a man who had just purchased the drugs from members of the drug-trafficking organization operated by Resnick.
A co-defendant in this case – Christopher Bowen, 32, of downtown Los Angeles – was sentenced in May of this year to 320 months in federal prison for participating in the drug-trafficking conspiracy.
The case was investigated by agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration with substantial assistance from the Huntington Beach Police Department.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael G. Freedman of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Section and David Ryan of the General Crimes Section.
Component(s): USAO – California, Central
Contact: Thom Mrozek Spokesperson/Public Affairs Officer United States Attorney's Office Central District of California (Los Angeles) 213-894-6947
Press Release Number: 18-108 Updated July 10, 201
Central District of California DOJ / 18-108 / July 10, 2018