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Cedar Park police arrest a dozen in fentanyl drug bust, after 23 overdoses from counterfeit pills

(Pexels)

The Cedar Park Police Department has arrested a dozen people, with three more federal indictments, for selling pills laced with fentanyl.


CPPD announced the arrests after a Tuesday morning bust, spanning four states and the entire Central Texas area from San Antonio to Cedar Park. Officials said most of the arrests have been in Austin.

The big picture: Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid used to treat severe pain, is about 80-100 times stronger than Morphine, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The agency said most people are unaware they are purchasing fentanyl, which is often used to cut heroin, and can result in an overdose. Fentanyl overdoses killed more than 36,000 people in 2019, according to the CDC.

The arrests are two years in the making—CPPD began tracking down the accused parties after the department noticed that 23 overdoses from the last two years came from counterfeit pills, resulting in nine fatalities.

According to a Department of Justice press release, the following people have been arrested.

  • Christopher Brook, 23, of Austin
  • Jaime Cabrales, 23, of Austin
  • Matthew Juan, 19, of Austin
  • Adi Martinez Marquez, 19, of Austin
  • Andrew Ruben Ramirez, 23, of Austin
  • Michael Bauman, 18, of Austin
  • Ernest Ochoa, 18, of Austin
  • Marcos Garcia, 18, of Somerton, AZ
  • Oliver Garcia, 20, of Lockhart
  • Ezequiel Azmitia-Jimenez, 19, of Lockhart
  • Daemon Lye Garcia, 19, of San Marcos
  • Josue Nolasco-Campuzano, 20, of Live Oak
Marcos Garcia, Oliver Garcia, Brook, Cabrales, Juan, Marquez, Ramirez and Azmitia have been charged by federal indictment with one count of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, facing up to life in prison if convicted. The rest were charged by federal criminal complaint of possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl and could also face life in prison if convicted.

Officials who worked on the case, including the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Postal Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the DEA, say they believe the drugs originated from Mexico.

The next step for investigators is to identify supply routes.

The contraband: Investigators have seized more than 100,000 counterfeit pills that have been laced with fentanyl. The pills have a street value of over $1 million and will be examined at a DEA lab.

“A lot of these are young adults that are obtaining these pills that’s resulting in these fatalities where they are thinking that it’s just one pill, or they’re obtaining it from a friend or someone they know,” Cedar Park Police Commander Darlene Lewis said.

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