The head of what prosecutors called a “deadly Elmira opioid trafficking organization” has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, U-47700 and 1-HUNDRED grams or more of furanyl fentanyl.
The U.S Attorney’s Office stated 30 year old Robert Thatcher, of Elmira, and a co-conspirator, ran a large scale opioid manufacturing and trafficking organization in the Southern Tier and northern Pennsylvania between 2015 and May 2017. As part of the conspiracy, Thatcher and his co-conspirator, imported bulk quantities of the drugs from overseas suppliers China. They ordered them on what is known as “the dark web,” and used different people and addresses in New York and Pennsylvania to receive the shipments. Thatcher purchased equipment and materials – including pill presses/mechanical tableting machines, and powdered food coloring – which they used to manufacture tens of thousands blue pills containing fentanyl. The pills were made to look like legitimate 30 milligram Percocet pills.
At least two individuals died after ingesting some of the pills.
Thatcher faces 10 years to life in prison and a 10-MILLION dollar fine when sentenced in February.