Fentanyl Trafficker Pleads Guilty to Distributing More Than 1,000 Pills
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas
A fentanyl trafficker responsible for distributing thousands of counterfeit pills across north Texas pleaded guilty today to federal drug charges, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton.
Stephen Paul Brinson, aka “Steve-O,” 18, was charged in March. He pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a Schedule II controlled substance (fentanyl) before U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma Carrillo Ramirez.
In plea papers, Mr. Brinson admitted he dealt fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills out of a home in Flower Mound.
He used an Instagram account to facilitate the sale of the round blue pills, which were imprinted “M/30” to resemble legitimate 30mg oxycodone pills.
According to court documents, Mr. Brinson acted as the source of supply for fentanyl to Donovan Jude Andrews, the Carrollton dealer who allegedly capitalized on the arrest of Luis Navarrete and Magaly Cano to advertise his pill business. (Mr. Andrews is allegedly tied to at least one juvenile fentanyl overdose – that of a 14-year-old girl who paid her dealer through CashApp; Mr. Navarrete and Ms. Cano, along with their supplier, Jason Villanueva, are allegedly tied to more than ten others.)
During a search of Mr. Brinson’s residence, law enforcement recovered approximately 1,800 fentanyl-laced pills along with cocaine, marijuana, and two firearms.
In plea papers, he admitted that at the time of the search, he was armed and en route to deliver an M/30 pill to a customer in Flower Mound.
Mr. Brinson is the second defendant charged in the wake of the Carrollton / Flower Mound juvenile overdoses to enter a guilty plea. Magaly Cano, 29, pleaded guilty earlier this month. Six other defendants – including Mr. Andrews, Mr. Villanueva, and Mr. Navarrete – have been charged but not yet convicted. (All are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.)
Mr. Brinson now faces up to 40 years in federal prison.
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Field Division and the Carrollton Police Department conducted the investigation with the assistance of School Resource Officers from the Carrollton – Farmer’s Branch Independent School District and the Lewisville Independent School District. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Phelesa Guy and Rick Calvert are prosecuting the case.
Note: Illicitly produced, fentanyl-laced pills often look similar to legitimate prescription pills like Oxycontin or Percocet, but can pose significantly more danger. On the street, these pills are often referred to as “M30s” (a reference to the markings on some of the pills), “blues,” “perks,” “yerks,” “china girls,” or “TNT.” DEA research shows that six out of ten pills laced with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose. One pill can kill. For resources, visit https://www.dea.gov/onepill.
Updated May 30, 2023