OAKLAND -- Federal and local law enforcement agencies raided several properties in Contra Costa this week, charging nine people with conspiring to make and sell large quantities of Xanax pills and other drugs, authorities said Thursday.
Alleged ringleader Jeremy Donagal, 35, is accused of stamping trademarks on the pills to make them appear to be made by the pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer Inc., according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
Donagal is facing several charges -- including international money laundering for wire transfers he allegedly sent to China -- that if convicted could land him and the other defendants in federal prison for up to 50 years plus fines.
He and five other accused accomplices were arrested Wednesday during raids in central, eastern and western Contra Costa, and appeared shackled in an Oakland courtroom Thursday. A KTVU report showed Drug Enforcement Agents seizing several barrels full of pills from a large industrial facility at 1717 Solano Way in Concord on Wednesday.
Six men have been charged with aiding Donagal in the drug enterprise: 42-year-old Laurence Lindberg; 39-year-old Thomas Elliott; 42-year-old Michael Tomada; 41-year-old Michael Gonzalez; 37-year-old Kenneth Koskiniemi; Christopher Neely and 38-year-old Duston Kirk. Kirk remained at large Thursday.
Alicia Mitts, a 30-year-old Oakley resident, is facing a structuring charge and has been released on $50,000 bail.
Donagal's attorney, Barry Morris, declined to comment Thursday morning. The U.S. Attorney's office has dubbed Donagal the "Xanax King."
David DeBolt covers breaking news. Contact him in Richmond at 510-262-2728. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.