NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Three California men were arrested in California Wednesday and charged with conspiring to ship fentanyl-laced drugs to Middle Tennessee and other states.
The Department of Justice says Matthew Cox, 26, Marcus Johnson, 24, and Ricardo Malinero-Alcarez, 27, were arraigned in California Thursday and will be taken to Middle Tennessee in the near future.
A criminal complaint says investigators were looking into the distribution of counterfeit fentanyl-laced oxycodone tablets with the inscription “M30” being shipped from the Santa Rosa, California area to multiple states, including Tennessee.
After reviewing surveillance footage, social media sites and mobile payment records, investigators were able to identify Cox, Johnson, and Malinero-Alcarez as the ones involved.
During the investigation, agents determined the drug distribution network was linked to other people in Columbia, Tennessee, and that fentanyl laced tablets were being shipped to Middle Tennessee. Law enforcement officials recently searched an area in Columbia and recovered a loaded gun and blue tablets with “M30” inscribed on them, according to investigators.
On July 25, agents seized a package from a UPS store in Sebastopol, California that was to be sent to Nashville. The package had thousands of counterfeit fentanyl-laced oxycodone “M30” tablets, weighing about 2.4 kilograms. Eight pounds of methamphetamine were also found inside.
On Aug. 9, agents intercepted two packages from the Santa Rosa area that were also destined for Nashville. One package had 472 grams of the oxycodone “M30” tablets and the other had about four pounds of methamphetamine inside.
If convicted, Cox, Johnson, and Malinero-Alcarez each face up to 20 years in prison.