Drug Trafficking Ring Uncovered in Central Texas

Central Texas law enforcement charged 13 people with selling counterfeit drugs laced with methamphetamine and fentanyl to college students. The alleged perpetrators are:

  • Varun Prasad
  • Ashley Larue
  • Jacob Schelling
  • Charles Zenker
  • Brandon Carpenter
  • Drew Zarate
  • Benny Daneshjou
  • Adrian Andreescu
  • Christopher Edwards
  • Nikit Shingari
  • Samuel Parry
  • Madison Scott
  • Nolan Fogleman

Many of those charged are former and current students at the University of Texas. They were allegedly part of a drug trafficking operation that sold counterfeit Xanax and Adderall to college students in Central Texas, authorities said.

They face charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance. Two potential suspects died from an overdose before the arrests.

After obtaining search warrants to arrest the individuals involved in the drug trafficking ring, law enforcement seized large amounts of Xanax, Adderall, fentanyl, marijuana, LSD, and psilocybin. They also seized about $100,000 in U.S. currency and multiple firearms.

Before these arrests, investigators found drugs from four other suspects, including heroin, methamphetamine, MDMA, LSD, Benzodiazepine, cocaine, and other opioids. They also found about $163,000 in U.S. currency and assets.

Among the University of Texas students arrested on December 3rd was Varun Prasad. Authorities believe that he started the operation in April 2019. Prasad accepted payments in cash and on different apps, including PayPal and Venmo, authorities said.

Investigators also allege that Prasad laundered drug money with help from Benny Daneshjou, a real estate investor based in Austin. Daneshjou was arrested for buying properties so the group could use them as safe houses for storing drugs and facilitating a hallucinogenic mushroom growth operation.

The recent arrests are associated with the December 2019 arrest of Rose Rodriguez-Rabin and Brandon Sims. Rodriguez-Rabin was a lecturer at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

With the help of her accomplice Brandon Sims, she distributed counterfeit Adderall pills containing methamphetamine, authorities said. According to legal documents, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) saw Sims leave Rodriguez-Rabin’s apartment with an orange duffel bag and plastic tote container and drive to a storage unit.

After agents searched Sims, the storage unit, and the van he was driving, they found the duffel bag. It contained a significant amount of Adderall tablets packaged for distribution. They seized a machine used to make the pills as well as 8.4 kilograms of fake Adderall. They also found a large pill press operation and 11 kilograms of counterfeit Adderall in Rodriguez-Rabin’s apartment.

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Our Collin County criminal defense lawyers have the experience, resources, and skills to advocate for your rights and secure your future. We know the uphill battle you’re facing after getting arrested or charged with a crime. It’s an overwhelming and scary experience. We will create the legal strategy to get your case dismissed or the charges against you reduced.

Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian will fight hard to prove your innocence. When you hire us, you will have 24/7 access to our team so you can reach us whenever you need us. We will guide you through the complex legal process and provide the compassion and support you deserve during this challenging time in your life.

Call us at (972) 369-0577 to schedule your free consultation if you were arrested for drug trafficking or another crime and need help with your case.

Written by: Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian Last Updated : June 15, 2023