TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Three people from the Houston area were charged in federal court after authorities arrested them in Toledo with what is believed to be more than three pounds of fentanyl.
Anthony Robinson, 32, Barbera Wilson, 21, and Darrius Lewis, 29, were each charged with conspiracy possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.
On Tuesday night, Robinson and Wilson traveled from a Red Roof Inn to the United States Post Office on Bancroft in Toledo, where Robinson and Wilson attempted to mail one kilogram of suspected fentanyl. The drugs were wrapped in multiple layers of heat-sealed plastic bags and encased in coffee grounds. The drugs field tested positive for fentanyl, according to an affidavit filed in federal court.
Agents then obtained search warrants for the Red Roof Inn rooms where the defendants were staying. All three were arrested at the motel and a search of their rooms discovered an additional half-kilogram of suspected fentanyl, as well as approximately $8,018 in cash, according to the affidavit.
"The fentanyl seized last night is enough to kill everyone in Toledo several times over," said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. "This is a great example of law enforcement working together to make our community safer."
"Fentanyl is a dangerous synthetic opioid with deadly consequences for users and those in law enforcement," said Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Steve Francis. "This significant seizure clearly demonstrates HSI's resolve to combatting the ongoing epidemic affecting Ohio, which we redoubled last week by pledging increased resources in the state."
"Individuals from out of state who think they can come into Ohio to traffic drugs undetected should know that we have task forces like this one across the state whose mission is to find you, seize your drugs, and stop you from profiting off of Ohioans who are suffering from addiction," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. "It took this task force less than a day and a half to identify these suspects and intercept the package of deadly fentanyl before it left the post office. I commend task force members for their swift work."
"This arrest should show that the Toledo Police Department, with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners will continue to work diligently and aggressively to keep Toledo's streets free from this poison," said Toledo Police Chief George Kral. "I commend those dedicated investigators who were involved in this large seizure and arrests. God only knows how many lives have been saved, and subsidiary crimes avoided, because of these dedicated men and women. I sincerely hope anyone considering committing illegal activity in Toledo will reconsider doing so."
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alissa M. Sterling following an investigation by the the Toledo Bulk Cash Smuggling Task Force, which consists of representatives of the Toledo Police Department, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Border Patrol, the Lucas County Prosecutor's Office, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio.
If convicted, the defendant's sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant's prior criminal record, if any, the defendant's role in the offense and the characteristics of the violations. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and, in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.
A charge is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.