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Man charged with dealing Park City teens ‘pink’ drug that killed them

Mar 10, 2022, 10:00 PM | Updated: Mar 14, 2022, 1:37 pm
The Park City School District offices are seen in Park City on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. A new synth...
The Park City School District offices are seen in Park City on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. A new synthetic drug called pink or pinky, as well as the recent deaths of two 13-year-old boys, has prompted the school district and Park City police to issue a warning to the community about the dangers of the drug. At this time, there is no confirmed connection between the two deaths and the drug. (FILE Kristin Murphy/Deseret News) The Park City School District offices are seen in Park City on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. A new synthetic drug called pink or pinky, as well as the recent deaths of two 13-year-old boys, has prompted the school district and Park City police to issue a warning to the community about the dangers of the drug. At this time, there is no confirmed connection between the two deaths and the drug.
(FILE Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Las Vegas man is being held in the Salt Lake County Jail, charged with distributing Oxycodone laced with fentanyl to a teenager in Park City. The drug is known in Park City as “pink” or “pinky” and led to the deadly overdose of two 13-year-olds in 2016.

That teenager, promised a kickback or commission by Shapard, would then turn around and sell the drugs to other students.  

What the charges say

Federal charging documents say now-21-year-old Colin Shapard had been shipping the drugs to Utah for at least the last three months. But court papers show he’d really been dealing the opioids for about eight years — dating back to when he was 13-years-old.

He also pleaded guilty to distributing the drugs that killed the two Park City teens in 2016. Shapard sold a dealer in Park City “pink”, who in turn sold them to Grant Seaver and Ryan Ainsworth, both 13 years old, when Shapard himself was 15-years-old. 

The complaint filed against Shapard alleges that back in November, some officers with the Drug Enforcement Agency, working with the Park City Police Department and Summit County Sheriff’s Office, learned that Shapard was involved in illegally mailing narcotics. He would send them from Las Vegas to Park City after purchasing them on the dark web. Court documents say that Shapard “shows no remorse for the harm his drugs have caused in the past” and insisted that if he was not detained, he would continue to distribute drugs to young people.

He was allegedly caught after one of his packages was intercepted by U.S. Postal Investigators, who were able to find footage of him in a Las Vegas post office shipping the drugs. 

Shapard previously lived in Park City.

How much of the Park City “pink” drug ends up in Utah

“By November of 2021, it is alleged that Shapard had shipped between 10 and 30 of the blue M30 pills every two weeks over the previous two to three months to an individual in Park City,” wrote U.S. Attorney for Utah, Andrea T. Martinez, in a statement Thursday. “The DEA officers learned that Shapard was allegedly using encrypted cellular applications to arrange the shipment of the fake oxycodone pills to Park City.”

Charging documents show DEA agents uncovered a student dealing the drugs in Park City, who pointed them to Shapard.

Martinez’s office says Shapard also promised some people kickbacks — meaning that he would send the pills to Park City for someone to distribute, and that person would be paid back in some sort, or take a commission.

The DEA says each blue oxycodone pill, falsely stamped as 30 mg. oxycodone, costs between $30 and $45 per pill.

But the DEA had been eyeing Shapard for quite a time. Martinez’s office reports agents reached out to Shapard to buy drugs directly from him in December, telling the undercover agent that the pills he sold did not contain any fentanyl, and “were legitimate pharmaceutical pills from Canada.” 

Two months later, paramedics in Park City and members of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of an 18-year-old found unresponsive.

The man was found unresponsive but was resuscitated with CPR and Narcan. DEA officers learned that man overdosed on the blue pills, allegedly sold to him by Shapard.

Martinez’s office says it searched the victim’s phone, finding text messages between him and Shapard. Postal Inspectors were able to obtain photos of Shapard allegedly shipping that particular parcel from Las Vegas at the beginning of February.

The Office of the United States Attorney has filed a motion to detain Shapard as he awaits a trial. It calls him a flight risk and a danger to the community. Back in 2016, when Shapard was being investigated for distributing the drugs to the two Park City teens, he was flown by his father out of Utah to Hawaii.

According to charging documents, Shapard was prosecuted in the juvenile court system in Utah. His felony charges were dismissed, but entered a plea to misdemeanor Reckless Endangerment charge, and was sentenced to probation along with drug treatment.

The documents show that once Shapard turned 18, he rerolled as a student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. 

You can read the full charging document here: Shapard Detention Motion

How bad fentanyl is

DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jay Tinkler says it’s fortunate there wasn’t another death connected to Shapard. He says Fentanyl is much stronger than other opioids like heroin or morphine.

“It’s 50 to 80 times more powerful than heroin, morphine,” said Tinkler. “Two milligrams is a potentially fatal dose. If you had someone who had never had any previous experience with an opiate, and they take something which they think is, you know, an OxyContin and oxycodone and it’s got fentanyl in it — the reaction for them is going to be much faster.”

He says if someone is a longer-term opioid user, it might not have the same effect.

“Because their body’s got a bit of a tolerance. And then when you look at the chemical makeup and what the opiates do to your body, they slow your heart rate down, the blood pressure drops,” said Tinkler. “When you look at fentanyl, that’s one of those that surgeons use, it just takes a couple of grains to put you to sleep when you’re going under for a procedure.”

Tinkler says it becomes especially dangerous when there are multiple people using the drug at the same time, saying there’s no one around to administer Naloxone if someone does begin to overdose.

“You see paramedics roll up on scene, and that’s one of the first things they start to reach for, because they don’t know if somebody had an overdose,” he said. “And if it’s accidental, you’ve got to get to somebody really quickly before they’re deceased.”

The biggest problem in this case, though, might be that the teens buying the drugs have no idea they’re laced with fentanyl.

“It’s wide open, and this stuff can be delivered right to your doorstep,” Tinkler said. “The biggest part of that is not knowing what’s in it. And that is, that’s the message that we’re really trying to get out to young people, to adults — is that you don’t know what’s in that pill.”

Tinkler says some pills contain more of one substance than the other, because they’re not made in any pharmaceutical laboratory that requires strict scrutiny.

“We just trying to prevent anybody else from, you know, from having another parent losing child.”

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Man charged with dealing Park City teens ‘pink’ drug that killed them