SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A federal grand jury has charged drug dealer in Monterey County and a Mexican pharmacist with distributing fentanyl and alprazolam as well as providing fentanyl in an overdose that resulted in death, according to authorities.
United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Daniel C. Comeaux on Thursday announced the charges against Monterey County resident Matthew Sanchez and Mexican national Francisco Javier Schraidt Rodriguez.
The two men face charges of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and alprazolam in connection with a scheme to transport the drugs from Mexico to California, according to the press release issued by the Department of Justice.
An indictment filed October 6 and unsealed Thursday states that between about June 2018 and November 2019, Schraidt Rodriguez, a 61-year-old pharmacist in Mexico, smuggled bottles of alprazolam and counterfeit, fentanyl-laced pills across the border from Mexico to California.
Once in the United States, Schraidt Rodriguez shipped these bottles and pills to a drug dealer in Monterey County. That dealer then sold some of the bottles of alprazolam and fentanyl-laced pills to Sanchez.
The indictment further describes how 25-year-old Monterey County resident Sanchez sold some of the bottles and pills to another Monterey County resident who died of an overdose on September 5 last year after ingested one or more of the fentanyl-laced pills.
“Fake Oxycodone pills are flooding Monterey County,” said Anderson. “These fake pills are laced with fentanyl. The drug dealers who are pushing these fake pills couldn’t control the amount of fentanyl in them even if they cared. Fentanyl is dosed in micrograms. Dealers don’t have the equipment or the ability to control what they are selling. Our young people are dying by the score from ignorance and indifference.”
“Sadly, we are seeing overdose deaths from fake prescription pills dramatically increase. The profit margin for selling these pills is very small, but the lethal margin of error for those who ingest these pills is minute,” said Special Agent Comeaux.
In this case, the counterfeit, fentanyl-laced pills that Schraidt Rodriguez and Sanchez distributed were shaped and colored to resemble Oxycodone pills that are sold in the legitimate marketplace. The counterfeit pills, known as M30s, are round tablets that are light blue in color with an “M” imprinted on one side and a “30” imprinted on the other.
Both men are in custody. Sanchez is scheduled to make his next federal court appearance on October 9. Schraidt Rodriguez is scheduled to make his next federal court appearance on October 13 in the Southern District of California, where the court will address issues related to his later appearance in the Northern District of California to face these charges.