Hopkins man gets life in prison for distributing fentanyl that killed 11 people

A Hopkins man will spend the rest of his life in federal prison for distributing fentanyl that led to the deaths of 11 people and seriously injured four others.

The U.S. Attorney's Office on Monday said Aaron Broussard, 31, was sentenced to life in prison for distributing controlled substances from 2014 through Dec. 6, 2016. Broussard earlier this year was convicted on 17 counts, ranging from conspiracy to importing fentanyl to distributing it.

"Eleven lives lost. Families, friends, and communities forever changed by the devastation brought on by Aaron Broussard’s deadly fentanyl. Although the trauma felt by the victims can never be undone and the true cost can never be calculated, Mr. Broussard will now spend the remainder of his life behind bars," U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger said in a statement.

Prosecutors say Broussard got the fentanyl from drug suppliers in China and sold it under the guise of "plant food" online, using the website PlantFoodUSA.net, sending the drug to people across the country.

According to prosecutors, Broussard placed an order for 100 grams of 4-FA, a controlled substance analogue. But, what he got from China was 100 grams of 99% pure fentanyl. Prosecutors say Broussard had seen a previous "mix-up" in August 2015 and was told to test his drugs, but he didn't bother to.

The fentanyl was then sent to customers expecting to get an analogue drug similar to Adderall. Prosecutors said his customers were not opiate users and had no tolerance for the fentanyl Broussard sent them. After taking the fentanyl, believing it was Adderall, 11 of the customers died from a fentanyl overdose, and at least four customers suffered serious bodily injury. 

While he didn't warn his customers, prosecutors say Broussard did reach out to his contacts in China, to request a discount on his next drug order.