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Judge gives 16-year sentence for fentanyl conspiracy conviction

A 43-year-old San Francisco man was sentenced on Friday in federal court to 200 months in prison for conspiring to distribute fentanyl, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Kia Zolfaghari pleaded guilty to the fentanyl conspiracy as well as weapons and money laundering charges on July 12. According to his plea agreement, Zolfaghari admitted that from May 2014 until June 2016, he agreed to work with others to distribute and possess fentanyl.

He admitted that his role in the conspiracy included buying a pill press, using it to manufacture pills, and selling the pills, principally online. Zolfaghari admitted he stamped the pills in a manner consistent with genuine oxycodone and advertised the pills as oxycodone, but that the pills contained no oxycodone and instead contained fentanyl.

The sentence was handed down by Senior U.S. District Judge Susan Illston.

Fentanyl is a highly potent opiate that can be diluted with cutting agents to create counterfeit pills that attempt to mimic the effects of oxycodone. The San Francisco medical examiner’s office recently reported a large spike in fentanyl-related deaths — in 2019, 234 deaths in San Francisco are estimated to have involved fentanyl, compared with 90 in 2018.

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