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3 admit to running drugs for Cottonwood Heights man accused of making fake pain pills

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FILE - Three people who worked for a Cottonwood Heights man accused of running an international drug ring out of his home admitted to drug charges Thursday in federal court.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Three people admitted in federal court Thursday to running drugs for a Cottonwood Heights man accused of making fake prescription painkillers in his home.

Alexandrya Marie Tonge, 26, and Katherine Lauren Anne Bustin, 28, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and alprazolam, possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute, use of the U.S. mail to further a drug crime and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Tonge and Bustin admitted to packaging and mailing thousands of orders for drugs for $7,000 a month.

Sean Michael Gygi, 28, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and alprazolam, aiding and abetting importation of a controlled substance and use of the U.S. mail to further a drug crime.

Gygi admitted to being a "runner" who picked up packages and envelopes containing drugs from Tonge and Bustin and dropped them off at post offices throughout the Salt Lake Valley

Aaron Shamo and Drew Crandall are accused of manufacturing fake prescription-drug pills in Shamo's Cottonwood Heights home and selling them on the darknet — an area of the internet often used for illegal activity — to people all over the country, at one point raking in $2.8 million in less than a year.

Federal agents seized nearly 500,000 pills from Shamo's house, court documents state. Prosecutors say the agents found guns and more than $1 million in cash stuffed in garbage bags, as well as pills made to look like Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug, and oxycodone.

Sentencing hearings for Tonge, Bustin and Gygi will be scheduled at a later date.