GLENDALE, AZ — A Glendale man and his girlfriend have been indicted in a federal drug trafficking case, accused of mailing counterfeit opioid pain pills across the country.
Jacob Medina, 26, and his pregnant girlfriend, Diane Erika Marin, were arrested March 4 at their home near 59th Avenue and Greenway Road.
Clifton Narcisse, a neighbor who did yard work for Medina, said the couple was quiet, but he did notice something unusual.
"There were a lot of mail packages, I know because they were in the garbage cans," Narcisse said.
According to federal court paperwork, Medina and Marin used the dark web to find buyers for opioid pills, and they would use priority or express mail packages to ship the drugs across the country. U.S. postal inspectors say at least one batch of blue pills were stamped A 215 like prescription oxycodone, but the pills field tested positive for fentanyl, a much more potent, and potentially deadly, drug.
Police in Conway, Ark., are investigating the suspected overdose death of a 34-year-old man, believed to be a "customer" of Medina and Marin. C.J. Kordsmeier died on February 21, and his family found a mailed package of pills that postal inspectors linked to Medina. An autopsy is pending for Kordsmeier.
Authorities say you should assume, if you did not get opioids directly from a pharmacy, that they were made by somebody mixing them in a bucket in their garage.
"Just throwing these chemicals into a mix and stir it up with a spoon," said Doug Coleman, Phoenix Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration. "The pill that you take one time has 1 mg on fentanyl in it, and you're fine. The next pill that you take that came from that same batch has 6 mg of fentanyl in it, and you're dead."
To help curb similar cases and deaths, Coleman urges parents to be aware what their kids are doing online and what's coming in the mail.
"People, all the time, especially the parents, they need to pay attention to what your kids are doing while they're sitting next to you on the couch with their smart phones," Coleman said. "They can buy fentanyl off of a website, and it'll show up at your house in three or four days."