Suspect in Utah-based national drug operation faces judge

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah -- The case of the biggest criminal pill press operation in Utah history is far from over, as suspect Aaron Shamo made his first court appearance and was held in jail until his next scheduled appearance on Monday.

That's the word from prosecutors who say Aaron Shamo's operation in Cottonwood Heights sent drugs across the United States and obtained chemical components from as far away as China.

"It's not only of a local impact, but it's of national impact," said Vernon Stejskal, the Assistant United States Attorney prosecuting the case in Federal Court.

Stejskal outlined an investigation that lasted months, with multiple agencies at the national and local level involved. He said evidence at the scene shows some material in the house came from as far away as China, and there were allegedly deliveries of pills across the U.S.

Shamo was held over on a single charge of possession of Fentanyl with intent to distribute. Stejskal says he intends to take a number of charges to a federal grand jury once he gets results from the Drug Enforcement Administration's lab in California. Fentanyl is a potent opioid.