A Fountain Valley man faces the prospect of a federal prison term Monday for his role in a narcotics-distribution ring that imported a powerful synthetic opioid from China used to produce homemade pills that were sold in bulk across the nation.
Dylan Simpson, 28, is the final member of the four-man ring to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge S. James Otero. Simpson pleaded guilty in June 2017 to possession to distribute methamphetamine, a felony carrying a five-year mandatory minimum prison sentence.
In arguing for a “downward departure” from the five-year mandatory term, Simpson’s defense attorney Matthew Bruggeman wrote that his client was merely a “delivery driver, paid $40 per delivery.”
The organization’s leader, Gary Resnik, admitted importing from China bulk chemicals, including acetylfentanyl, a drug very similar to the powerful and highly addictive opioid fentanyl. Acetylfentanyl, which is many times more potent than heroin, is not approved for any use in the United States.
Resnik’s organization also illegally imported presses from China that were used to make pills in clandestine labs in a Long Beach storage unit and Baldwin Park house.
Over the course of nine months in 2015 and 2016, the ring sold about 40,000 to 45,000 pills each month, for between $4 to $8 per pill, according to prosecutors.
During the investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, authorities seized narcotics — including opiate pills containing acetylfentanyl, Xanax pills and ecstasy pills — from a man who had just purchased the drugs from the traffickers. Authorities also seized over 24 pounds of acetylfentanyl from the Long Beach lab in addition to other illegal narcotics from both Long Beach and Baldwin Park.
Resnik, 33, of Long Beach was sentenced last month to nearly 27 years for running the organization. In May, Christopher Bowen, 32, of downtown Los Angeles was sentenced to 26 years behind bars. Joseph Stanley, 32, of Huntington Beach received a year of federal probation for his minor role in the scheme.