SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sergey Tkachuk, 28, of North Highlands, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to five years in prison for distribution of fentanyl, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, in March 2016, Tkachuk obtained 40 pills bearing the mark “M367,” which indicated that the pill was a Lortab 10 or Norco. The pills were in fact counterfeit versions and contained fentanyl. Tkachuk then sold 16 of the pills to another person for $6 per pill, and that person subsequently died of an overdose.
On April 19, 2021, Tkachuk pleaded guilty to distribution of fentanyl. The plea agreement indicates that Tkachuk did not know that the pills were counterfeit.
“This case is another example of the extreme danger posed by pills that appear to be legitimate pharmaceutical products but actually contain fentanyl,” Acting U.S. Attorney Talbert said. “The public should be aware than any pill that did not come directly from a pharmacy as a result of a valid prescription could contain deadly quantities of fentanyl or other drugs. Counterfeit pills often look exactly like legitimate pills, but they have caused untold numbers of deaths as a result of what they actually contain. This sentence should be a message to anyone buying or selling illicitly obtained pills—not knowing that pills contain fentanyl is not an excuse from criminal liability and taking them could result in death.”
This case was the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Hemesath prosecuted the case.