Defendant in opioid case says he was helping people

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A defendant at the center of a multimillion-dollar opioid case says he saw himself as helping people get the prescription drugs they needed while making money for himself and his friends.

Aaron Shamo testified Tuesday in a federal courtroom in Salt Lake City, just miles from the suburban basement where authorities say he and a friend pressed thousands of fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills that were sold online and shipped across the country.

Prosecutors said the drugs caused at least one fatal overdose and perhaps dozens more as the nation’s opioid crisis spiraled into a fentanyl epidemic in 2016.

Shamo acknowledges selling drugs online, but says he had help from friends.

The 29-year-old Shamo is charged with operating a criminal enterprise, selling drugs that caused a fatal overdose and other counts.

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