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A Minnesota man was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday for his role in distributing drugs that led to the deaths of 11 people, the United States Attorney’s Office announced.
“Eleven lives lost. Families, friends, and communities forever changed by the devastation brought on by Aaron Broussard’s deadly fentanyl. Although the trauma felt by the victims can never be undone and the true cost can never be calculated, Mr. Broussard will now spend the remainder of his life behind bars,” U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger said in a statement.
At his trial in March, Broussard was found guilty on all 17 counts that included conspiracy, importation of fentanyl, possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, distribution of fentanyl resulting in death, distribution of fentanyl resulting in serious bodily injury, and possession with intent to distribute controlled substance analogues.
Broussard, a 31-year-old from Hopkins, Minn., would purchase controlled substances, including fentanyl, from drug suppliers in China. Once in his possession, Broussard would list the substances on his website as plant food, according to evidence presented at the trial.
Investigators found that Broussard placed an order on March 12, 2016, for 100 grams of 4-FA, a substance “with a chemical structure resembling that of amphetamine and MDMA,” according to the National Institutes of Health. But instead of receiving that, Broussard’s package actually contained 100 grams of fentanyl. This was not the first time there was a product mixup, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Broussard “was repeatedly told to test his drugs, and he did not do so,” the office said.
Instead, Broussard sold and sent the drugs to more than a dozen people who were expecting to receive a drug similar to Adderall from March 31 to April 27, 2016. Eleven people died and four others sustained serious bodily injuries after taking the fentanyl. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said these people were not opiate users and therefore had no tolerance for the drugs provided by Broussard.
News of the tragic events did not stop Broussard from continuing his illegal business, though, according to the prosecutors.
“Even after he learned that several customers had been hospitalized and nearly died, Broussard never warned his customers not to take the deadly drugs,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Instead, Broussard reached out to the suppliers in China and requested a discount on his next order.
When Senior U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson imposed the life sentence, she told Broussard, “Your disregard for human life is terrifying.”