Superseding Indictment Adds 13 Defendants to Fentanyl Distribution Conspiracy Spanning From California to D.C.
WASHINGTON – Garnell Lucas, 33, of Upper Marlboro, MD, was sentenced today to 72 months in prison for his role in a fentanyl distribution ring, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, and Special Agent in Charge Wayne A. Jacobs, of the FBI Washington Office’s Criminal and Cyber Division. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta ordered 60 months of supervised release. Lucas pleaded guilty on May 15, 2023, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl. He admitted he is accountable for more than 1.2 kilograms of a mixture containing a detectable amount of fentanyl.
According to court documents, in August 2021, law enforcement began investigating a drug trafficking group running a fentanyl pill pressing operation in and around Washington, D.C. and Maryland. Law enforcement learned that the group was in possession of at least three pill presses, used to press fentanyl into counterfeit prescription pills which the group then distributed throughout Washington, D.C. and Maryland. Lucas and others were identified as participants in the drug trafficking operation. Between May 2020 and late-September 2022, the conspiracy utilized at least three pill presses, including one industrial pill press, to press mixed fentanyl.
As part of the conspiracy, the defendant distributed the counterfeit pills in a coordinated manner with co-conspirators, including to other co-conspirators and to other distributors and/or users. The co-conspirators would coordinate their distribution, including resupplying or helping each other fill orders, if necessary, to further the object of selling narcotics, and referring customers to each other. On March 29, 2022, the FBI executed a search warrant at an apartment in Southeast Washington, DC, a stash house used by the conspiracy to run the pill press operation. During the search, law enforcement seized baggies of pills and loose powder, together amounting to more than 516 pills and more than 76 grams of a mixture and substance containing fentanyl.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Rosenberg and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah J. Rasalam, of the Violence Reduction and Trafficking Offenses Section, prosecuted the case. Valuable assistance in the investigation was provided by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Wasserman and former Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Marnee Rand.