LOS ANGELES – A resident of downtown Los Angeles was found guilty this afternoon of federal drug trafficking charges for participating in a conspiracy that imported acetylfentanyl, a drug very similar to fentanyl, which is a powerful and highly addictive opioid. Acetylfentanyl, which is five times more potent that heroin, is not approved for any use in the United States.
Christopher Bowen, 31, was found guilty by a federal jury of conspiracy to manufacture, possess with intent to distribute, and distribute four narcotics, specifically: acetylfentanyl; a-pyrrolidinovalerophenone, a so-called designer drug also known as “PVP” that is sometimes used in “bath salts”; ecstasy (MDMA); and alprazolam, which is sold under the brand name Xanax.
Bowen was also found guilty of possession of acetylfentanyl with intent to distribute.
The evidence presented during a two-day trial in United States District Court showed that Bowen and other members of the drug organization imported acetylfentanyl from China, which they then used to produce homemade pills designed to look like pharmaceutical products. Bowen and his co-conspirators then distributed the pills in bulk across the nation.
The drug organization also obtained pill presses from China that were used illegally to make tablets in labs in a storage unit in Long Beach and a house in Baldwin Park. During the investigation, DEA agents seized more than 9 kilograms of acetylfentanyl from the organization.
Bowen is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge S. James Otero on January 22, 2018. At the time of sentencing, Bowen will face a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each of the two counts.
The jury that convicted Bowen also acquitted him of possession with intent to distribute acetylfentanyl that was found in his apartment.
The leader of the organization – Gary Resnik, 32, of Long Beach – pleaded guilty in August and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Otero on February 26, 2018.
This case was investigated by the special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael G. Freedman 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: 17-193 Updated October 27, 2017
Central District of California DOJ / 17-193 / October 26, 2017