California drug ring shipped 1 million fentanyl-laced pills — some hidden in toys

Tribune Content Agency

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Federal officials in Sacramento have charged two members of the Oak Park Bloods street gang and three other people in connection with a drug trafficking ring alleged to have mailed more than 1 million fentanyl-laced oxycodone pills, some of them hidden in children’s dolls and toys.

The five suspects were booked Thursday into the Sacramento County Main Jail and were scheduled to make their initial appearances Friday in Sacramento federal court after being charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl.

The 30-page complaint, which was unsealed Thursday, alleges a conspiracy that shipped counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl nationwide from Sacramento since January, with agents seizing more than 250,000 pills and identifying more than 100 packages containing drugs that moved through the mail.

Two of the packages were mailed from Phoenix to Sacramento in November and contained more than 20 pounds of fentanyl pills hidden inside toys, court records say.

The complaint names Marcus Miller and Reginald Jones, both 33, as members of the Oak Park Bloods who were co-leaders of what U.S. Postal Inspector Jason Bauwens labeled the Sacramento-based “Miller-Jones Drug Trafficking Organization.”

“Based on the ongoing investigation, it is estimated the Miller-Jones DTO has trafficked over one million counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl throughout Sacramento and to multiple states, including Alaska, Maryland, California, Michigan, South Dakota, Montana, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, and New Jersey,” Bauwens wrote in an affidavit. “On several occasions, the drugs were packaged and shipped inside of children’s toys.”

The toys included dolls, a bracelet-making kit and other items, according to photos included in the affidavit, and the investigation relied in part on video surveillance from post offices in Davis, Sacramento and Phoenix as suspect packages were being mailed.

Also charged in the complaint were Felicia Shaw, 31; Jimmy Van II, 38; and Jazzmine Campbell, 30. Court records did not identify attorneys for any of the defendants.

“Shaw, Van II and Campbell work together with Miller and Jones to receive, package, and/or concurrently ship drugs for distribution across the country, as well as help sell and distribute these fentanyl-laced pills in Sacramento,” the affidavit alleges. “Shaw, Van II and Campbell have also traveled with Miller and Jones to facilitate the distribution and collection of pills and drug money.”

The affidavit says Miller and Jones frequently traveled to Phoenix to purchase the pills, then shipped them to a “trap house” in Sacramento used to store the drugs, which were then sold in Sacramento or shipped to customers nationwide.

Miller and Jones used a variety of methods for being paid, from having cashier’s checks mailed by buyers to cash applications such as Zelle and Apple Pay, the affidavit says.

“In addition, flight records indicate that members of the Miller-Jones DTO have flown from Sacramento to locations where the DTO has mailed drugs and back to Sacramento in less than 48 hours,” Bauwens wrote. “Based on my training and experience, I know that such quick turnaround trips are consistent with collecting money from drug sales and not personal vacations.”

For example, Miller and Jones both flew to Anchorage, Alaska, on separate flights on Feb. 7 of this year, the same day that Campbell mailed two packages containing 2½ pounds of drugs from Sacramento to Anchorage, the affidavit says.

“GPS data shows that Miller and Jones both returned from Anchorage to Sacramento early the following day, February 8, meaning they flew approximately 3,000 miles to stay in Anchorage for less than 24 hours,” Bauwens wrote. “I know from my training and experience that long trips with a quick return (are) often consistent with business travel or drug trafficking, and not personal travel.”

Conviction on the charge in the criminal complaint carries a minimum sentence of 10 years, with a maximum of up to life and a fine of up to $10 million, court records say.