Dark Web Drug Dealers Sentenced to Federal Prison for Fentanyl-Laced Pills Operation Resulting in Fatal Overdoses

Westminster, Orange County – A man from Orange County, California, and another from Houston, Texas, have been handed down federal prison sentences for their involvement in a dark web operation selling fentanyl-laced pills, resulting in multiple fatal overdoses.

Michael Ta, 25, of Westminster, CA, and Rajiv Srinivasan, 37, of Houston, TX, were recently sentenced following their illicit online drug dealings that caused harm to numerous individuals across the United States.

Operating under the alias “redlightlabs” on the dark web, Srinivasan orchestrated the sale of counterfeit M30 oxycodone pills mixed with fentanyl and other substances. Over a span of several months, Ta and Srinivasan conducted thousands of drug transactions, reaching buyers in all 50 states.

Law enforcement officials revealed that Srinivasan interacted with customers using encrypted messaging platforms, handling payments through virtual currencies that were later processed through cryptocurrency exchanges. Meanwhile, Ta was responsible for acquiring the drugs, storing them, and dispatching orders from his residence in California.

The illegal operation managed to distribute a significant amount of counterfeit pills, methamphetamine, fentanyl powder, heroin, and cocaine to unsuspecting victims across the country. The arrests of Ta and Srinivasan in November 2022 marked the culmination of the investigation into their criminal activities.

Upon pleading guilty to drug distribution charges, Srinivasan and Ta faced sentencing for their roles in the operation. Srinivasan was ordered to serve 19 years and seven months in federal prison, while Ta received a sentence of 21 years and 8 months.

The impact of their actions was particularly devastating, leading to at least five fatal overdoses attributed to the fentanyl-laced pills distributed by the duo. Prosecutors emphasized the far-reaching consequences of their crimes, highlighting the profound loss experienced by the families of the victims and the broader societal implications of the opioid crisis.

In a separate legal proceeding, Omar Navia of Los Angeles pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges related to drug distribution, serving as a supplier to Srinivasan and Ta. Navia faces a substantial prison sentence, while his co-defendant, Adan Ruiz of Garden Grove, is preparing for trial on similar charges.

These cases underscore the pervasive nature of illicit drug trafficking and the critical need for continued efforts to combat the opioid epidemic plaguing communities across the country. As the legal proceedings unfold, authorities remain committed to holding accountable those responsible for fueling addiction and tragic loss through their criminal activities.