The Latest: Trial opens for Utah man in major opioid ring

AP

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  • In this Nov. 22, 2016 photo, two men in protective suits exit a residence as local and federal law enforcement agencies respond to a drug bust in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. The raid on Aaron Shamo’s home in the upscale suburb of Cottonwood Heights, agents found a still-running pill press in the basement, thousands of pills and more than $1 million in cash stuffed in garbage bags, according to court documents. (Scott G Winterton/The Deseret News via AP)

  • 1

    In this Nov. 22, 2016 photo, local and federal law enforcement agencies respond to a drug bust in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. The raid on Aaron Shamo’s home in the upscale suburb of Cottonwood Heights, agents found a still-running pill press in the basement, thousands of pills and more than $1 million in cash stuffed in garbage bags, according to court documents. (Scott G Winterton/The Deseret News via AP)

  • 2

    In this Nov. 22, 2016 photo, police and agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration put on protective gear as local and federal law enforcement agencies respond to a drug bust in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. The raid on Aaron Shamo’s home in the upscale suburb of Cottonwood Heights, agents found a still-running pill press in the basement, thousands of pills and more than $1 million in cash stuffed in garbage bags, according to court documents. (Scott G Winterton/The Deseret News via AP)

  • In this Nov. 22, 2016 photo, two men in protective suits exit a residence as local and federal law enforcement agencies respond to a drug bust in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. The raid on Aaron Shamo’s home in the upscale suburb of Cottonwood Heights, agents found a still-running pill press in the basement, thousands of pills and more than $1 million in cash stuffed in garbage bags, according to court documents. (Scott G Winterton/The Deseret News via AP)

  • 1

    In this Nov. 22, 2016 photo, local and federal law enforcement agencies respond to a drug bust in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. The raid on Aaron Shamo’s home in the upscale suburb of Cottonwood Heights, agents found a still-running pill press in the basement, thousands of pills and more than $1 million in cash stuffed in garbage bags, according to court documents. (Scott G Winterton/The Deseret News via AP)

  • 2

    In this Nov. 22, 2016 photo, police and agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration put on protective gear as local and federal law enforcement agencies respond to a drug bust in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. The raid on Aaron Shamo’s home in the upscale suburb of Cottonwood Heights, agents found a still-running pill press in the basement, thousands of pills and more than $1 million in cash stuffed in garbage bags, according to court documents. (Scott G Winterton/The Deseret News via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on the trial of a Utah man accused of running an opioid ring (all times local):

12:30 p.m.

Lawyers for a man accused of running a multi-million-dollar opioid ring out of his suburban Salt Lake City basement say he was involved in drugs but wasn't capable of running such a major operation.

Defense attorney Greg Skordas said Monday that 29-year-old Aaron Shamo has a learning disability and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder that make him incapable of orchestrating the complicated scheme that prosecutors laid out in court documents.

Skordas spoke during opening statements at the trial of Shamo, who could be facing life in prison if convicted of just one of the counts against him.

Prosecutor Michael Gadd says several people involved will testify that Shamo ran the ring that sold pills laced with fentanyl that resulted in a fatal overdose.

Authorities have said the 2016 bust of the operation that sold nearly half-million pills ranked among the largest in the country.

__

6 a.m.

A 29-year-old former Eagle Scout accused of running a multimillion-dollar opioid drug ring out of his suburban Salt Lake City basement is set to go on trial Monday.

Prosecutors say Aaron Shamo was a prolific dark web kingpin who peddled poisonous fentanyl pressed to look like prescription drugs to thousands of people, killing at least one.

Authorities said the 2016 bust of the operation that sold nearly half-million pills ranked among the largest in the country.

But Shamo's family and lawyers say that's a false image of him. They say he made mistakes, but he's being wrongly targeted as the sole ringleader, despite evidence his partners who were offered plea agreements were as deeply involved as he was.

 

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