INDIANAPOLIS – Michael J. Gannon, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the US Drug Enforcement Administration-Indianapolis, and US Attorney Zachary A. Myers for the Southern District of Indiana announced that a federal grand jury in Evansville, Indiana, returned an indictment charging two men with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, illegal distribution of a tableting machine, and illegal possession of a tableting machine. The indictment was unsealed yesterday following the initial appearance of the defendants.
According to court documents, Ethan Parker, 29, of Evansville, allegedly obtained pound quantities of fentanyl powder from an unknown source of supply in the Louisville, Kentucky area and manufactured fentanyl-laced fake pills using a pill press. Parker then allegedly supplied Joshua Harvey, 30, of Evansville, and others, with fentanyl-laced fake pills. Harvey also allegedly transported Parker to the Louisville, Kentucky area to acquire pound quantities of fentanyl powder to facilitate the manufacture and distribution of fentanyl-laced fake pills.
During the investigation, it is alleged that Parker and Harvey displayed a high degree of technological sophistication, using encrypted messaging applications to purchase, advertising, and sell fentanyl-laced fake pills, as well as utilizing the “Dark Web” and cryptocurrency to pay for drug transactions.
To date, in this investigation, authorities have seized approximately 140 grams of fentanyl-laced fake pills and powder, two pill presses and various dies and punches utilized to press pills. As little as two milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal, depending on a person’s body size, tolerance and past usage. One kilogram of fentanyl has the potential to kill 500,000 people.
If convicted of conspiring to distribute fentanyl, Parker and Harvey face 10 years to life in prison, a fine of up to $10 million, and at least five years’ supervised release. If convicted of distribution or possession of a tableting machine, Parker faces up to four years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years’ supervised release. Actual sentences are determined by a federal district court judge and are typically less than the maximum penalties.
This case was the result of an investigation by the DEA, the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Drug Task Force, the Evansville Police Department, and the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office. The Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office provided valuable assistance.
An indictment is simply an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.