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Million-dollar opioid drug ring started small, No. 2 says

In this Nov. 22, 2016 photo, local and federal law enforcement agencies respond to a drug bust in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. The raid on Aaron Shamo’s home in the upscale suburb of Cottonwood Heights, agents found a still-running pill press in the basement, thousands of pills and more than $1 million in cash stuffed in garbage bags, according to court documents. (Scott G Winterton/The Deseret News via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah man who prosecutors call the second-in-command of a multimillion-dollar online opioid drug ring says it started with selling Adderall to pay for student loans.

Drew Crandall testified Thursday that he packaged and mailed drugs as he and his roommate, alleged ringleader Aaron Shamo, expanded to selling date-rape drugs, ecstasy, Xanax and more.

Crandall says online customers would later report that fake oxycodone laced with the powerful opioid fentanyl was making users get sick and overdose.

Shamo is on trial, charged with 13 counts in what prosecutors say became one of the most prominent dark web drug operations in 2016, as the country’s opioid crisis spiraled into a fentanyl epidemic.

Defense attorneys, though, say he’s been wrongly cast as the kingpin of an organization that could not have run without help from Crandall and others.