California: Mexican pharmacist smuggled counterfeit pills with fentanyl, across border, into Monterey County, triple spike in ODs

 Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat   TY Gus Source The Californian 

A Mexican
pharmacist allegedly ran powerful sedative and opioid drugs across the border,
according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern
District of California.

Francisco
Javier Schraidt Rodriguez, 61, would smuggle bottles of alprazolam and “M30
pills,” which are bluish counterfeit pills containing fentanyl and the letter
“M” and number “30,” from his pharmacy across the U.S. and Mexico border.

Once in
the United States, Schraidt Rodriguez would ship bottles of alprazolam (aka
Xanax) and the M30s to contacts in Monterey County, prosecutors said.

Matthew
Sanchez, 25, sell the alprazolam and M30 pills to users, prosecutors said
in the Thursday press release.

One
person who bought drugs, including the M30 pills, from Sanchez overdosed Sept.
5, 2019, after taking at least one of the fentanyl-laced pills.

Captured
communications showed Schraidt Rodriguez and Sanchez both knew the counterfeit
pills contained fentanyl, including those sold to the victim who died,
prosecutors said.

Schraidt
Rodriguez sold $81,859 of the counterfeit, fentanyl-laced M30 pills,
alprazolam, and other drugs during the operations from June 2018 through Nov.
2019.

At the
peak of their drug sales, Sanchez would buy approximately 100 counterfeit pills
at a time, prosecutors said.

Sanchez
and Schraidt Rodriguez are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess
with intent to distribute fentanyl and alprazolam as well as the distribution of
fentanyl resulting in death.

If
convicted, the men each face up to 20 years in prison for distribution of the
drugs as well as 20 years to life for distributing the fentanyl-laced pills to
the victim.

Those
powerful opioid pain killers are responsible for a spike in overdoses,
hospitalizations and enrollment in treatment in Salinas and Monterey County,
experts say. 

“Fake
Oxycodone pills are flooding Monterey County,” U.S. Attorney David Anderson
said. “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.”

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In
2019, Monterey County’s fatal opioid overdoses more than tripled 2018’s 10
deaths, according to Monterey County Public Health. 

Doctors
have said they’re seeing more younger people coming in after overdosing. 

Treatment
centers say they have also seen increases in people seeking help for
opioids. 

Sanchez
would not be the first Monterey County defendant facing prosecution for selling
fentanyl-laced drugs that killed someone. 

Xavier
Jimenez-Robledo, 19, is facing 20 years if convicted of selling “M30s” to
a teenager, who survived an overdose at his house in April, and to
Thomas Henderson, 20, who died May 9 after an overdose, authorities have said.

Additional
M30s were found in both victims’ rooms. 

Jimenez-Robledo’s
case, filed June 12 in federal court, is pending, records show. 

Chivis note: use hyperlink at the top to access interesting infograms with this story

Editor’s
note: 
The federal judicial system normally does not provide mug shots
of defendants.