CA: Self-proclaimed ‘M30 King of Fresno’ among 18 arrests made in big fentanyl trafficking bust

Seven overdoses, including two deaths, were caused by counterfeit oxycodone M30 tablets containing fentanyl

Local and federal law enforcement officials announced the arrest Friday of 18 people involved in a large-scale drug trafficking operation that flooded Fresno County with thousands of counterfeit prescription pills laced with fentanyl.

The arrests come after seven fentanyl-related overdoses happened in the Fresno area. Four of those overdoses included high school-aged teenagers. And one of those four overdoses happened on campus during school hours, said U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert during a press conference.

Talbert said drug overdoses linked to fentanyl have become a national problem. Last year, 100,000 people in the United States died from drug overdoses and two-thirds of those were attributed fentanyl, a synthetic opiod that is 800 to 100 times stronger than morphine.

“Several years ago, fentanyl began arriving in our district in small amounts and was being sold on the black market,” Talbert said. “Since then the amounts have increased substantially both in powder fentanyl and fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills that are leading to more and more overdoses.”

Talbert credits the use of a multi-agency task force to bring down the criminal network that was supplying thousands of fake oxycontin pills laced with fentanyl.

The investigation called “Operation Killer High” took several months and netted 18 arrests, 55,000 pills, 4.4 pounds of fentanyl powder, a pill press, one pound of cocaine and 10 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and 12 guns, half of which were ghost guns.

What investigators discovered is that the recent overdoses were caused by counterfeit oxycodone tablets containing fentanyl. On the street the pills are known as M30’s.

Similar to authentic oxycodone, M30 tablets are small, round, and light blue or green in color with “M” stamped on one side and “30” on the other.

RING LEADER CAPTURED

Among those arrested was Horacio Torrecillas Urias Jr., who law enforcement says is a drug trafficking ring leader known as the self-proclaimed “M30 king of Fresno.”

The criminal complaint against Torrecillas Urias and the others details a network of drug traffickers and sellers who used everything from Facebook to Instagram to connect buyers with the drugs they needed. Much of the supply of M30 fentanyl pills, fentanyl powder, cocaine and methamphetamine was coming from Mexico.

He and his co-defendants were then allegedly distributing these illicit narcotics to drug dealers inside and outside of California.

Several of the conversations intercepted by federal agents involved the sale of thousands of pills valued at several thousands of dollars. In one exchange, Torrecillas Urias and a cousin joked about how potent to make the counterfeit pills.

“I want you to make them that these (expletive) almost gonna be dying,” according to the complaint.

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