After an eight-day trial, the jury returned the guilty verdicts against Joedon Bradlet, 32, of Nashville, Johnny Williams, 32, and Jonathan Barrett, 30, both of Murfreesboro. The jury found a fourth defendant, Jason Moss, not guilty on all counts.
“Nearly one-third of drug overdose deaths in 2016 were the result of synthetic opioids, and drug traffickers can order them with a few clicks of a mouse,” said U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “These drugs are so strong that a few grains of it can be fatal. Showing no regard for people’s safety, the defendants mixed fentanyl into hundreds of pills, including some that killed at least one person and harmed countless others. I want to thank the DEA, the FDA, our fabulous state and local partners with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Murfreesboro police and the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Department of Justice attorneys Amanda Klopf and Brent Hannafan, for their hard work on this case. Their efforts have led to justice being served.”
“The jury’s verdicts in this case will now hold these individuals accountable for seeking to profit from the devastating opioid epidemic that continues to plague communities across our nation,” said U.S. attorney Don Cochran. “Long prison sentences for these individuals will soon follow. I commend the jury for seriously shouldering their responsibility and I thank our law enforcement partners and our prosecutors for their untiring efforts in bringing justice on behalf of the people of this district.”
The case began July 6, 2016, when law enforcement and medical personnel in the Murfreesboro area were overwhelmed by a series of overdoses caused by pills that appeared to be prescription Percocet pills. The pills were counterfeit and contained fentanyl, alprazolam and acetaminophen. They were pressed by Bradley and Eric Falkowski, 36, of Kissimee, Florida.
According to testimony at trial, in May 2016, Falkowski moved his pill operation to Madison after law enforcement searched his home in Florida and seized his pill presses. Following the seizure, Falkowski got more fentanyl through the internet from China and bought a new pill press through amazon.com.
Beginning on July 4, 2016, Bradley and Falkowski mixed together a combination of inert pill binder, alprazolam, acetaminophen and fentanyl. In about 24 hours, Bradley helped press thousands of pills, using a pill mold that imprinted “A333” onto product, a white, oblong pill that was almost identical to a prescription A333 Percocet pill.
The next day, Williams got about 300 pills through the chain of distribution. He arranged to sell 150 of those pills for $1,050 to Barrett through Jennifer Dogonski, a woman who acted as a broker.
According to evidence at trial, between July 5-6, 2016, Barrett, Williams and Bradley all distributed counterfeit Percocet pills containing fentanyl, with the markings “A333,” that were produced by Falkowski and Bradley. On July 6, 2016, Barrett learned some people who had bought the counterfeit pills overdosed, and one person had possibly died, but he continued to distribute the counterfeit pills.
Law enforcement later searched a home in Madison with a federal search warrant and found, among other things, the pill press, multiple molds used for embedding text onto pills, including a mold for “A333,” a pill grinder, fentanyl, alprazolam and other drug manufacturing equipment. Testing later confirmed the mold found at the house was the same mold used to make some of the pills seized from overdose victims during the investigation.
The jury found the distribution of the counterfeit pills caused one person to die and seven others to experience serious bodily injuries.
The defendants face a mandatory minimum 20 years in prison, up to life, and up to a $1 million fine for each count charged when they are sentenced later this year.
Five other defendants indicted in the case previously pleaded guilty and await sentencing. They include Falkowski; Preston Davis, 24, of Madison; Davi Valles Jr., 26, and LaKrista Knowles, 26, both of Nashville; and Jennifer Dogonski, 34, of Murfreesboro.