‘Xanax King’ charged with counterfeiting pills
Federal prosecutors announced today that nine people have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Oakland on charges of manufacturing counterfeit prescription drugs, money laundering or both.
U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said six of the defendants were arrested in various East Bay locations on Wednesday and made initial appearances before a federal magistrate in Oakland today.
The 11-count indictment was issued under seal on May 22 and unsealed after the court appearances today. One of the drugs allegedly counterfeited is Xanax, an anti-anxiety medication made by Pfizer Inc. Its generic name is alprazolam.
The lead defendant is Jeremy Donagal, 35, of Martinez, whose nickname is allegedly “Xanax King,” according to the indictment.
Donagal is charged with all 11 of the counts, including two counts of conspiring to manufacture alprazolam and other controlled drugs, one count of manufacturing such drugs, two counts of intending to sell alprazolam, and one count of selling counterfeit alprazolam tablets stamped with a phony Pfizer trademark.
Donagal is also accused of two counts of international money laundering related to wire transfers of cash to China and three counts of structuring the Western Union transfers in amounts of less than $3,000 to avoid a federal reporting requirement.
Donagal pleaded not guilty to the charges before U.S. Magistrate Donna Ryu, who ordered him held in custody while awaiting a detention hearing on June 5. Seven of the other defendants also face some of the drug charges and in some cases money laundering counts as well.
The ninth defendant, Alicia Mitts, 30, is accused only of the structuring counts. Ryu granted her release on $50,000 bail today while awaiting trial.
The magistrate ordered four others who were arrested Wednesday to remain in custody while awaiting future detention hearings. They are Laurence Lindberg, 42; Thomas Elliott, 39; Michael Tomada, 42; and Christopher Neely, whose age was not given.
Haag said one other defendant, Kenneth Koskiniemi, 37, was arrested in Fresno and appeared in federal court there Wednesday afternoon. Duston Kirk, 38, is a fugitive and defendant Michael Gonzalez, 41, is in state custody on another charge, Haag said.