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Pill Presses Are Not Your Grandpa’s Drug Paraphernalia


Facing drug charges is no laughing matter, but the story of Gal Vallerius has all the hallmarks of a Miami New Times grade tall tale; even though the story spans the globe, it could only take place in Florida.  You have to admit that OxyMonster is a fun screen name, almost as much fun as Miami’s own Muhammad_a_lean, and that, when he wasn’t selling drugs on the dark web, Vallerius was preparing for the World Beard and Mustache Championship.  The fact that facial hair is a competitive sport is funny enough in itself; at least the YouTuber known as Beard Meats Food has bases his bid for fame on competitive eating, and the beard is just a gimmick.  The most edifying part of the OxyMonster saga, though, is that Vallerius got caught not because he had the most visible beard in the Atlanta airport but because he frequently used scare quotes and double exclamation points and signed off by saying “cheers” both in his drug transactions and his above-board social media posts; in other words, he used the same writing style in his drug activities as he did by the light of day.  If he had put as much effort into adversarial stylometry as he did into growing his beard, OxyMonster might still be in business today.  The most disturbing part of the story is that things could have been worse.  No one can be sure of the ingredients of the pills they buy on the dark web.  OxyMonster sold oxycodone and Ritalin, but when you buy pills online, you don’t know if you are getting the drug you are buying, or if it will be a little bit of fentanyl or xylazine mixed with a lot of cheap stuff and pressed into a pill that looks just like the prescription drug you ordered.  Here, our Miami drug crimes defense lawyer explains why the DEA is paying so much attention to pill presses found anywhere except licensed factories that manufacture pills.

Why Is the DEA So Worried About Pill Presses?

You can get criminal charges for drug paraphernalia even if police do not find any actual drugs in your vicinity.  Drug paraphernalia is ordinary items that it is legal to buy and possess, but which are commonly used in the consumption and manufacturing of illegal drugs.  Whether an item is drug paraphernalia is usually context dependent.  You might have a spoon and a lighter in your car because you were eating food and smoking cigarettes or because you were heating drugs.  A huge box of scouring pads in your car is usually a sign of meth lab activity, unless, of course, you operate a cleaning service or are the neatnik spouse of a doomsday prepper.  If you have drug paraphernalia but no drugs, there is usually room for reasonable doubt.

Likewise, pill presses and the stamps that go with them can be used for legitimate purposes, too.  Maybe you use yours to make old school hard candies like the kind your grandma used to keep in a candy dish in the living room to offer to guests, or maybe you make artisanal cough drops for a customer base that thinks Zarbee’s sold its soul.  Of course, without pill presses, there would be no pills that look just like oxycodone, Adderall, and Xanax but actually contain fentanyl, and this is what has the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) worried.  70 percent of the counterfeit pills seized this year tested positive for fentanyl.  Most of these pills entered the United States from Mexico, but the manufacturers of the pills produced them with pill presses bought from online retailers based in the United States.

How to Stay Out of Trouble With Your Ecommerce Activities

Ecommerce is one of the few reliable ways to make money these days, so if you make money by selling pill presses to folks who make copycat Tic Tacs suitable for raw foods vegans, rock on with your enterprising self.  The DEA requires people who sell pill presses to report the sales to the DEA, so keeping meticulous records will help you.  If federal agents contact you about your pill press or any other items you have bought or sold online, you can and should consult a lawyer before agreeing to participate in the investigation.  A lawyer can advise you about which records you are required to disclose and when, if at all, you should plead the Fifth Amendment.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys

A South Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges related to the sale or purchase of a pill press.  Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo in Miami, Florida for a free, confidential consultation about your case.




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