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Cape Coral Man Pleads Guilty to Manufacturing Counterfeit Pills Containing Fentanyl and Other Federal Offenses

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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Fort Myers, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Brandon Albanito (37, Cape Coral) has pleaded guilty to a six-count information charging him with possession of a controlled substance (fentanyl) with the intent to distribute it, two counts of possessing counterfeit drugs for sale, possessing parts used to manufacture counterfeit drugs, possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, and bank fraud. Albanito faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison for the bank fraud, up to 20 years’ imprisonment for the controlled substance offenses, up to 15 years on the firearms offense, and lesser penalties for the counterfeit drug charges.  Albanito has agreed to forfeit $97,146.95, traceable to the fraud offense, and the other items he possessed illegally, including a pill press and firearms. Albanito is also required to make full restitution to the financial institution which was the victim of his fraud scheme.

According to court documents, in March 2021, Albanito defrauded his federally insured bank with a scheme involving falsely disputed cash transfers which he had authorized. Albanito illegally obtained $97,146.95 through the scheme. In furtherance of its investigation into his fraud, the U.S. Secret Service executed a search warrant at Albanito’s Cape Coral residence in January 2023. Upon entry into the residence, law enforcement observed a large, commercial-grade pill press in the garage and hundreds of counterfeit oxycodone pills on a nearby shelf. The counterfeit pills, which appeared identical to prescription oxycodone pills, were found to contain fentanyl.

Law enforcement obtained a second warrant permitting them to search for and seize evidence related to drug manufacturing and distribution. During this search, they seized a five-gallon bucket containing approximately 30 pounds of counterfeit alprazolam pills (which actually contained the designer drug clonazolam), a five-gallon bucket containing approximately 20 pounds of pill binding agent, pill dies (i.e. tooling used by a pill press to create pills), and two firearms within the residence. DNA testing conducted on both firearms determined that Albanito had possessed them. Albanito was previously convicted in two federal cases (2011) involving money laundering, drug distribution, creating false identification documents, and possessing a firearm as a felon. As such, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law.

This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service, the United States Food and Drug Administration, the Cape Coral Police Department, with assistance from the Pasco Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael V. Leeman.


USAO - Florida, Middle

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