Edward Culton has been arraigned on federal charges of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, aiding and abetting the distribution of fentanyl, and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, which resulted in the death of an individual.
Culton was indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 22, 2018.
“Culton’s alleged fentanyl distribution led to two drug overdoses, resulting in the death of one of the individuals,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “The defendant allegedly disguised the dangerous pills to look like legitimate Roxicodone tablets, but they were actually laced with fentanyl - a more potent and potentially lethal substance.”
“This counterfeit ‘pill peddler’ was a menace to society,” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division. “Pills in the underground drug market are often diluted with dangerous and deadly substances, as was the case in this investigation. Purchasing pills on the street is synonymous to playing Russian roulette, as there’s no quality control or efficacy in the process. The success of this investigation was made possible because of the collaborative efforts between all law enforcement agencies involved and the U.S Attorney’s Office.”
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges, and other information presented in court:
Between September 2017 and February 2018, Culton allegedly supplied Hubert Nathans, a drug dealer in the Roswell, Georgia area, with hundreds of fake Roxicodone pills from his Buckhead apartment in Atlanta.
The counterfeit pills were blue in color and imprinted with M30, which resembled legitimate 30 mg Roxicodone tablets, but they actually contained fentanyl.
In October 2017, Nathans allegedly sold a number of these pills to a man who died from a drug overdose on Oct. 3, 2017. On Jan. 8, 2018, Nathans also allegedly sold one pill to a woman who overdosed after ingesting part of the pill.
In January and February 2018, the Roswell Police Department purchased pills from Nathans on multiple occasions.
On Feb. 15, 2018, DEA agents executed a search warrant at Culton’s apartment and allegedly seized more than 900 of the same blue fentanyl-laced pills.
Culton, 25, of Atlanta, Georgia was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Janet F. King on federal charges of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, seven counts of aiding and abetting the distribution of fentanyl, and one of count of possession with intent to distribute.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
Hubert Nathans, 29, of Roswell, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, the use of which resulted in the death of one individual and serious injury to another, on August 13, 2018.
This case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Roswell Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Hartigan is prosecuting the case.
This case is presented as a part of Operation SCOPE (Strategically Combatting Opioids through Prosecution and Enforcement), which is an initiative launched by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to partner with federal and local law enforcement to fight the devastating effects that illegally-prescribed painkillers, heroin, and synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl have on our neighborhoods.