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Published on April 16, 2024
Salem and Lynn Men Plead Guilty in Boston to Drug Trafficking Conspiracy Involving Deadly Counterfeit PillsSource: Google Street View

Two Massachusetts men have admitted their roles in a drug trafficking scheme that flooded the streets with thousands of deadly fake pills. Kion Shepherd of Salem and Raymond Kulakowski of Lynn each pleaded guilty last week in a Boston federal court to conspiracy charges related to the distribution of counterfeit prescription pills laced with fentanyl and methamphetamine, officials said.

The plea deal landed Shepherd and Kulakowski in hot water for their involvement with an expansive North Shore drug trafficking organization. Sentencings are set for July 25 and September 3, respectively, for the duo, who are the latest in a line of defendants to fall in this case. They faced charges of conspiring to distribute, and possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances, according to an announcement from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Investigators uncovered the Salem and Lynn-based operation that peddled tens of thousands of fake oxycodone pills cut with fentanyl and counterfeit Adderall pills spiked with methamphetamine. The case, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys James E. Arnold and Evan D. Panich of the Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit, highlights a concerted effort against the opioid epidemic.

The guilty pleas were the culmination of efforts by federal, state, and local agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Massachusetts State Police. This case is part of a broader initiative under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces to put a stop to high-level criminal organizations. Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Levy commended the cooperation among law enforcement, while significant support came from police departments in Beverly, Everett, Peabody, Revere, Salem, Saugus, and Swampscott.