New indictment claims Cottonwood Heights fentanyl case linked to death

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal grand jury has handed up a new indictment charging a Cottonwood Heights man accused of running one of the nation’s largest fentanyl operations.

Aaron Shamo, 27, is facing 13 counts including aiding and abetting the distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death. He’s accused of distributing fentanyl which resulted in the 2016 death of a person.

Shamo also faces charges of a continuing criminal enterprise, drug trafficking-related charges and money laundering-related charges. Federal prosecutors have accused him of importing Fentanyl and Alprazolam from China and making fake oxycodone pills and Xanax tablets and selling them throughout the United States and on the dark web.

When police raided Shamo’s Cottonwood Heights home in 2016, they found nearly 100,000 fake pills, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Utah said.

“The drug trafficking organization distributed more than 800,000 pills,” the office said in a statement Thursday.

Some of Shamo’s co-defendants indicted in the case have already struck plea deals. most recently, Drew Wilson Crandall, 32, of Brisbane, Australia, pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday to conspiracy to distribute Fentanyl, conspiracy to distribute Alprazolam, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The plea deal called for Candall to get a lower sentence, signaling a potential cooperation deal. The sentencing for other co-defendants who struck plea deals has also been pushed back.

Shamo’s attorney told FOX 13 he was frustrated that the government kept adding more charges and said they have not been negotiating with him in good faith.

Shamo himself is scheduled to go on trial for three weeks beginning in January.