Former UI grad student accused of operating drug ring


URBANA, Ill. (WAND) - A former UI grad student and Champaign man is facing federal charges after being accused of operating a drug-manufacturing operation.

22-year-old Stephan Caamano is accused of operating the ring out of his west Champaign home.

He will undergo a psych evaluation before it is determined whether he is mentally fit to stand trial.

Caamano appeared in court in a wheelchair and made odd twitching and jerking head movements. His facial expressions varied from grinning to squinting, and he made incomprehensible noises, the News Gazette reports.

Caamano is accused of producing counterfeit Xanax and mailing them in USPS boxes from Champaign to other states from Sept. 2016 until this past weekend.

In Dec., Customs and Border Protection agents seized items being mailed from China to Caamano. In the package, they found alprazolam, a pill-press machine, and machine parts.

The News Gazette reports Caamano's Linkedin account states he attended the University of California at Berkeley from 2014 to 2016, before coming to the University of Illinois.

He was a student at the UI in fall 2016.

He was part of a fellowship program for the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need program. It is a grant meant to help high-achieving students pursue the highest degree available to them in a field designated as being one of national need.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents tracked Caamano his home and packages going in and out.

They said they found envelopes with Xanax pills being mailed out. They said Caamano's mail carrier would pick up between 50 to 100 manila envelopes a day. He reported it to his superiors, because it was making his job so difficult.

The News Gazette reports that in March, a woman contacted the sheriff's office, because she had received four boxes from the post office identifying her as the return sender. She had not sent the boxes and found more than 83,000 Xanax pills inside.

Also in March, someone in Cleveland got a package from Urbana with more than 1,000 pills. The homeowner had not ordered the box.

A second Cleveland address also got packages delivered later that month.

One recipient told agents they bought Xanax off the darkweb for $14,000 in three different buys in the winter of 2017 and spring of 2018.

When DEA agents executed a search warrant on Caamano's rental home on South Fair St. and a $246,000 house on Glenshire Dr. on Sunday night, they found drugs and machines to make pills.

The majority of the drugs were found at the Glenshire home.

Caamano's case is expected to be presented to a federal grand jury next week.

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