AUSTIN, Texas – According to federal prosecutors, thirteen people have been arrested and charged under federal charges for allegedly distributing and selling illegal drugs to University of Texas students in Austin and San Antonio.
Gregg Sofer, a U.S. attorney for the West District of Texas, said at a news conference on Friday that current and former students at the University of Texas have been arrested for trying to distribute drugs like LSD, psilocybin, fentanyl and methamphetamine.
All 13 people are charged with conspiracy to distribute a regulated substance, and some are also charged with money laundering.
“These allegations are the culmination of Operation Spiderweb, which began in 2019 when federal, state and local law enforcement officials alarmedly increased the distribution of counterfeit regulated materials,” Sofer said.
According to Sofer, Austrian authorities learned that thousands of counterfeit pills were distributed around the western campus in Austria, which coincided with an increase in overdose reported to local law enforcement.
“Two targets in this investigation were overdosed and died during the investigation,” Sofer said. “These tablets are carefully manufactured and tested by non-sophisticated pharmaceutical manufacturers.”
As part of the Spiderweb operation, search commands were executed on Thursday and resulted in the seizure of hallucinogenic mushrooms, fake Adderall, fake Xanax, LSD and other drugs. More than $ 100,000 in cash was also seized, along with firearms and ballistic vests.
“Investigators estimate the total sales of illegal drugs sold by the organization will exceed $ 1 million,” Sofer said.
The arrests in Austria are linked to the arrest of Rose Rodriguez-Rabin in December 2019 at the former University of Texas in San Antonio. Together with his code defendant, Brandon Sims, he distributed fake Adderall pills to UTSA students and others, Sofer said.
Rodriguez-Rabin was employed by the university at the time of his arrest. UTSA spokeswoman Courtney Clevenger told KSAT on Friday that “Rose Rodriguez-Rabin is no longer working for UTSA. He dropped out of college in March.
“Miss. After Rodriguez-Rabinet’s arrest, she was released as an instructor in December 2019. Following the university’s official termination process, her employment ended on March 31, 2020,” Clevenger said.
Tens of thousands of counterfeit Adderall tablets and manufacturing equipment were allegedly found last December in an apartment on a northwest side that belonged to Rodriguez-Rabine, who then told federal agents that Sims was a roommate.
According to federal documents obtained by KSAT at the time, Rodriguez-Rabin in San Antonio and Austin was “presumably a major distributor of Adderall” and known as “Irene Adler”.
According to Sofer, Rodriguez-Rabin provided 23-year-old Varun Prasad with “metam fake Adderall on several occasions.”
Federal authorities believe Prasad was the head of the distribution network and laundered drug money with the help of Austrian-based 68-year-old real estate investor Benny Daneshjou, who, according to Austrian police, helped the group buy properties used for secure houses and warehouses. drugs, according to the Austro-American statesman.
Houston Special Agent Steven Whipple said eight “current or former undergraduate students who were members of this organization,” including “mathematics majors, chemistry majors, psychology majors, [and] business person. He noted that the defendants were all well trained and said the execution of the operation was “sophisticated”.
“The point is, we really want people to withdraw this test,” Whipple said, “when he sends the kids to college and they think they’re buying prescription pills (Adderall) to pass them in the final exam, there’s a good chance.” that this is not Adderall.
Whipple says street drugs are extremely dangerous because they come with things that are highly addictive and deadly like fentanyl.
“This organization sold some diverted drug drugs, but they couldn’t get enough,” Whipple said. “So they chose the production path and turned to people like the professor [Rodriguez]-Rabin and what he provided.
During a house search at Rodriguez-Rabin’s apartment, agents seized 11 kilograms of fake Adderall and a large pill press operation. At the time of his arrest, he was charged with the manufacture and distribution of about 680 grams of Adderall, and Sims was charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
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