15 pounds of fentanyl powder, and 30 firearms seized: Fentanyl Distribution Network Dismantled

Federal law enforcement agencies in D.C., Virginia, Maryland, San Diego, and Los Angeles have successfully arrested 11 additional alleged members of a fentanyl drug distribution network. These individuals are accused of transporting hundreds of thousands of counterfeit blue Oxycodone (M30) pills, containing fentanyl, from California to D.C. The arrests are part of a broader operation to dismantle the network responsible for distributing lethal quantities of fentanyl. 

Details of the Operation:

The 11 arrested individuals, including Trayveon James Johnson, Karon Olufemi Blalock, Ronte Ricardo Greene, Melvin Edward Allen, Jr., Darius Quincy Hodges, Lamin Sesay, Paul Alejandro Felix, Omar Arana, Edgar Balderas, Jr., Raul Pacheco Ramirez, and Giovani Alejandro Briones, were apprehended in coordinated law enforcement operations across three states and the District of Columbia.

They are named in a fourth superseding indictment, joining 13 previously charged defendants, alleging a conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of a mixture containing fentanyl.

The operation targeted a drug conspiracy that operated in various districts, including the District of Columbia, Eastern District of Virginia, Central and Southern Districts of California, District of Maryland, Middle District of Tennessee, and elsewhere.

Key Charges and Allegations:

The defendants are accused of being part of a drug conspiracy that began in August 2020.

The charges include conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, with additional charges of possession with intent to distribute, possession within 1000 feet of a protected location, and conspiracy to launder the proceeds of illegal drug distribution.

Defendant Columbian Thomas is charged with possession of a machinegun in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.

Investigation and Global Fentanyl Supply Chain:

The investigation began after the death of a young woman, Diamond Lynch, in Washington, D.C., who consumed one of the counterfeit pills containing fentanyl.

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram highlighted the extensive efforts to track down individuals connected to Lynch's death, uncovering a vast network involved in trafficking fentanyl from Mexico to Los Angeles and subsequently to Washington, D.C.

The arrests are part of Operation Overdrive and One Pill Can Kill, initiatives by the DEA targeting drug traffickers distributing lethal substances in communities.

Quantifiable Impact:

The investigation has resulted in charges against 26 individuals, with over 94,000 fentanyl pills, 15 pounds of fentanyl powder, and 30 firearms seized.

The joint effort by law enforcement agencies emphasizes a commitment to dismantling global fentanyl supply chains and holding those responsible accountable.

Legal Consequences:

The conspiracy charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, up to life, highlighting the severity of the charges against the arrested individuals.

Sentencing will be determined by the court based on advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The successful operation to arrest 11 additional members of the fentanyl distribution network demonstrates the resolve of law enforcement agencies to combat the opioid epidemic. The arrests and charges send a strong message about the consequences of participating in drug trafficking networks that contribute to the loss of lives due to fentanyl-related overdoses. The collaborative efforts underscore the importance of dismantling global drug supply chains to protect communities and prevent further tragedies.


DATA SOURCE: District of Columbia | Superseding Indictment Adds 13 Defendants to Fentanyl Distribution Conspiracy Spanning From California to D.C. | United States Department of Justice