LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A UNLV student who is accused of selling illicit fentanyl pills through the mail was previously involved in providing drugs that led to the deaths of two teenagers, federal prosecutors allege in court documents.
Colin Shapard, 21, faces six counts related to the distribution of fentanyl from Las Vegas to Utah, a newly unsealed criminal complaint said.
The Drug Enforcement Administration began its investigation in November 2021, it said. The DEA learned Shapard was selling fake oxycodone pills to a middleman in Utah, prosecutors said. Some of the pills were then sold to high school-aged students, prosecutors said.
An informant said Shapard has shipped 10-30 pills to him or her every two weeks. The shipments came through the U.S. Postal Service in priority mail envelopes.
Drug cartels are manufacturing illicit fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that is 50-to-100 times more potent than morphine, and combining it with other street drugs. The pills are often blue with the imprints “M” and “30” on them.
Evidence in the criminal complaint includes surveillance photos of Shapard inside a Las Vegas post office, photos of the pills, and photos of the Priority Mail envelopes. The return address was to Shepard on the UNLV campus, investigators said.
“Because the dark web doesn’t have boundaries, it can often be global in nature,” a current DEA investigator, who agreed to speak with the I-Team anonymously due to his ongoing work, said last summer.
Shapard is accused of using encrypted messaging software to commute about sales, prosecutors said. In December, Shapard began speaking unknowingly with an undercover agent, prosecutors said.
“He represented that his pills were legitimate pharmaceutical drugs, later claiming ‘[t]hey’re a bit pricy as they aren’t presses but they are from Canada so thanks to free healthcare they aren’t crazy expensive,’” investigators wrote in court documents.
Cameras later captured Shapard mailing the agent the drugs in an envelope at the post office, prosecutors said.
“We want to help as much as we can to work with the public and get information out to people so we can help prevent things,” the undercover agent who spoke with the I-Team said.
Prosecutors allege an 18-year-old in Utah overdosed after buying Shepard’s pills. The person in Park City was found unresponsive with no pulse, but was revived with Narcan, investigators said.
“The victim stated he had ingested Oxycodone M30 pills that he ordered from Colin Shapard,” court documents said. “He explained that the pills were shipped through the mail.” USPS records show Shapard sent the victim the parcel in early February, investigators said.
In an undercover buy, an agent purchased 15 M30 pills. The pills were mailed in an Advil pill bottle and tested positive for fentanyl, investigators said.
When the agent did not immediately respond to a message from Shapard about the arrival of the pills, Shapard “appeared to have become worried,” investigators said. When the agent responded and “was still alive, Shapard express his relief,” they wrote in court documents.
“Sorry about being so worried… Just wanted to check-in and make sure you weren’t dead, as [it’s] never a good sign when someone goes MIA after getting a [expletive] ton of opiates,” a text message from Shapard to the agent said.
Investigators said Shapard is responsible for the deaths of two 13-year-old children in 2016 when he was in high school. Drug agents said Shapard was making illicit opioids and selling them in a spray. He went through the juvenile justice system and “entered a plea to a misdemeanor reckless endangerment charge, and was sentenced to probation along with drug treatment,” court documents said.
A judge ordered Shapard to be detained pending trial. He is due in court later this month.