Two St. Charles Residents Charged with Possession of Two Kilograms of Fentanyl
St. Louis - Two St. Charles residents were charged in federal court for possessing with the intent to distribute two kilograms of fentanyl today in United States District Court in St. Louis.
Ruben Lopez, 27, and Jonathen Aguilar, 31, of St. Charles, Missouri, were taken into custody yesterday after federal search warrants revealed one kilogram of fentanyl bound for an apartment in the 2000 block of Avignon Drive in St. Charles and another kilogram of the opioid painkiller at another apartment. The government has sought detention of both defendants, who are entitled to a probable cause hearing and a detention hearing next week.
According to the statement filed in support of a criminal complaint, federal investigators intercepted a suspicious Priority Mail package addressed to the Avignon address with a return address in La Mirada, California. The investigators obtained a warrant to open the mail parcel which contained a one-kilogram brick of fentanyl concealed inside clothing.
The investigators secured the fentanyl, which is too hazardous to be safely handled, and conducted a controlled delivery of the parcel to the Avignon address. Defendant Lopez brought the package inside the residence and the investigators entered soon thereafter to execute another warrant for the residence. Inside, they found a Glock 27 .40 caliber handgun and two machines capable of encapsulating drugs. Another warrant executed yesterday in the 400 block of Molina Way, also in St. Charles, revealed a second quantity of approximately one kilogram of fentanyl and $19,000 in cash. Two kilograms of fentanyl carry a street value of more than $100,000.
Lopez and Aguilar are charged with possession with the intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, a charge carrying a ten-year mandatory minimum sentence. They are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty.
These charges are a result of a joint investigation between the St. Louis Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States Postal Inspection Service with assistance from the St. Charles County Police Department, the St. Charles County Regional Drug Task Force, the St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the St. Peters Police Department.
“Through our strategic, investigative operations we removed more than 1.5 million potentially lethal doses of poison from hitting the streets of St. Charles County,” said Special Agent in Charge William J. Callahan of the DEA St. Louis Division. “The DEA’s mission is clear and we will continue to disrupt, dismantle and destroy drug trafficking organizations who impact our communities.”
Assistant Inspector in Charge of the United States Postal Inspection Service’s St. Louis Field Office J.R. Ball stated, “Criminals who believe they can use the U.S. Mail to transport dangerous illegal narcotics into our communities are mistaken. The United States Postal Inspection Service is committed to identifying these individuals and bringing them to justice. Today’s arrests are examples of that commitment.”
St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar added, “I am proud of the collaboration between the St. Charles County Regional Drug Task Force, St. Peters Police Department, St. Charles County Police Department, DEA and the United States Postal Inspector. It’s outstanding efforts like these that cut off the supply lines fueling the opiate epidemic that plague our communities.”