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Stamford pill factory defendant arraigned in federal court

April 13, 2018 GMT

STAMFORD — A city man caught at one of the largest illegal counterfeit pill factories in the northeast discovered in Stamford’s Westover neighborhood last week was arraigned in federal court in New Haven on Friday.

Appearing before federal Magistrate Holly Fitzimmons, David Reichard, 29, of West Hill Circle, was charged with possession of heroin and possession of heroin with the intent to distribute.

His new criminal defense attorney Lindy Urso said Reichard consented to detention without prejudice to argue for his release at a later date. “Unfortunately David has a drug problem and we are happy to consent to his detention and want him to detox. In the meantime, we will figure out a plan and explore options for his release,” Urso said.

Reichard’s arrest and the shutting down of the counterfeit pill mill came after a confidential informant told Stamford police earlier this month of seeing three to four ounces of carfentanil in a ziplock bag in the garage of a residence on West Hill Circle road in Stamford. Carfentanil is an extremely powerful synthetic opiate and animal tranquilizer used on elephants and livestock which is reported to be 100 times stronger than fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin.

At Reichard’s arraignment at the Stamford courthouse last week, Judge Gary White said the allegations against Reichard indicated that the chemicals being kept at the West Hill Circle residence cold have killed half the residents in Stamford.

Police Capt. Richard Conklin said, “This is an extremely dangerous substance, whether in pill or powder form. This lab was a danger to the community and we are happy that our Durg Enforcment ADministration partners have gotten rid of the lab and the investigation is ongoing and we are proceeding.”

As well, the informant said they saw drug packaging materials, scales and a pill press inside the residence, according to the affidavit written by William McMahon, a Stamford police officer who is a sworn and deputized task force officer with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

After getting a warrant to search the West Hill Circle residence, officers in the Stamford police Narcotics and Organized Crime squad met Richard as he was driving onto the West Hill Circle property on April 3. During a search he was found in possession of five folds of brown heroin, the affidavit said.

Reichard told the officers that they would find the Carfentanil inside a crush proof case in the garage area and that there were three illegal pill manufacturing machines in the silo standing in the front of the home.

After going in, officers quickly saw the makings of a hidden laboratory and due to the dangerous toxicity of Carfentanil exposure, they backed out of the home and called in the DEA’s Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement Team. Just touching the substance can cause an overdose or death.

The team ended up finding four mason jars containing an unknown white powder, a bag of white power, a mail package containing numerous pills, a crushproof case with more white powder, instructions on preparing Carfentanil, a hazardous materials suit and respirator mask, a scale, three pill presses and numerous bags of power, mixers, strainers funnel along with United States Postal empty mail envelopes, the affidavit said.

Reichard told police that he began living at the house in February. He said another man living there was making the counterfeit Oxycodone Hydrochloride tablets. The drug is a very popular synthetic opiate at the center of the United States addiction crisis.

The affidavit suggests the lab was producing counterfeit Oxycodone pills made with Carfentanil. A special agent estimated there were over 1,500 pills seized at the residence. Reichard told police that his roommate was using the dark web to purchase the Carfentanil and sends pills all over the United States to those purchasing them, the affidavit said.

Urso said he did not think federal authorities will charge Reichard with possession of Carfentanil.

“I think everyone recoginzes that the Carfentanil did not belong to David and David had nothing to do with the Carfentanil,” Urso said.

jnickerson@stamfordadvocate.com