SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The photo that flashed onto the courtroom screen showed a young man dead on his bedroom floor, bare feet poking from the cuffs of his rolled-up jeans. Lurking on a trash can at the edge of the picture was what prosecutors said delivered this death: an ordinary, U.S. Postal Service envelope. It had arrived with 10 round, blue pills inside, the markings of pharmaceutical-grade oxycodone stamped onto the surface. The young man took out two, crushed and snorted them. But the pills were poison, prosecutors said: counterfeits containing fatal grains of fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid that has written a deadly new chapter in the American opioid epidemic. The envelope was postmarked from the suburbs of Salt Lake City. That’s where a clean-cut, 29-year-old college dropout and Eagle Scout named Aaron Shamo made himself a millionaire by building a fentanyl trafficking empire with not much more than his computer and the help of a few friends. ___ This story was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. ___ For three weeks this summer, those suburban millennials climbed onto the witness stand at his federal trial and offered an unprecedented window into how… Read full this story
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