Seattle, Wash., July 22, 2022 – Two residents of Marysville were arrested yesterday in an early morning raid following an investigation into parts shipped from China that could be used to make counterfeit oxycodone and fentanyl pills, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. Jose Eduardo Garnica and Lauren Malina Wilson, appeared in U.S. District Court today charged with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute fentanyl, and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Both remain detained at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac pending additional hearings.
“Fentanyl pills are linked to the huge increase in overdose deaths in Washington State,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. “A pill press, such as the one in this case, can create 30-50 pills a minute – up to 3,000 potentially deadly pills per hour. Seizure of this press helps reduce the supply of these dangerous pills.”
According to the criminal complaint, the pair came to the attention of law enforcement on June 17, 2022, when U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Los Angeles inspected a package shipped from China to Garnica’s Marysville address. The package was labeled “furniture parts,” but in fact it contained die sets for use in a pill press, and would make pills that appear to have the markings of oxycodone pills. Further investigation of Garnica and Wilson revealed numerous unusual cash transactions and the purchase of 11 firearms in a three-month span of 2020.
This morning agents with Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI executed search warrants at the Marysville residence and in the garage seized a pill press and other materials for making fake oxycodone pills. Both Garnica and Wilson were arrested at the scene. Officers called a hazmat team to secure the lab, due to the potentially deadly nature of fentanyl powder. The investigation of the scene is ongoing. In the vehicles associated with the defendants, law enforcement found multiple suspected counterfeit oxycodone pills.
The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI with assistance from the Washington State Patrol, National Guard Civil Service Team, the Snohomish County Drug Task Force, and the Skagit County Drug Task Force.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi.
Content Source: Western District of Washington AG’s Office