Source of Supply for Carrollton Fentanyl Trafficker Charged
A Flower Mound man who supplied fentanyl to a trafficker linked to at least one juvenile overdose has been federally charged, announce U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton.
Stephen Paul Brinson, 18, was arrested in Flower Mound on Wednesday, charged via criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute a schedule II controlled substance. He made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Rene Toliver Friday.
“In just four weeks, we have charged five adults accused of trafficking deadly fentanyl to children. The Justice Department will deploy every investigative technique, pursue every lead, and exhaust every legal avenue available to eradicate counterfeit fentanyl pills,” said U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton. “In the meantime, we urge the community to remind our young people: Any pill not prescribed by a doctor could be lethal. One pill can kill.”
“The latest arrest of Mr. Brinson shows that our determination to reduce the threat of illicit fentanyl and save lives will not stop,” said Eduardo A. Chavez, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Dallas Field Division. “Let me be clear to those who still continue to traffic fentanyl pills: DEA Dallas and our law enforcement partners such as Carrollton PD will find you and hold you accountable for your selfish actions. The safety of our families and community depend on it.”
“Taking this dealer out of the network puts a significant dent in the dealers’ ability to sell drugs to all DFW-area children. We remain committed to arresting those who put the lives of our children in danger,” said Carrollton Police Chief Roberto Arredondo.
According to the complaint, 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 Magalo Cano to advertise his pill business. (Mr. Andrews is allegedly tied to at least one juvenile fentanyl overdose, and Mr. Navarrete and Ms. Cano, along with their supplier, Jason Villanueva, are allegedly tied to ten others.)
Law enforcement identified Mr. Brinson shortly after they arrested Mr. Andrews and his juvenile driver, identified in court documents as “DC,” a Hebron high school student who allegedly chauffeured the dealer around in exchange for fentanyl pills.
In DC’s phone, DEA agents found text messages identifying the Instagram user “superstarxs” – later identified as Mr. Brinson – as a “plug,” or source, for fentanyl pills. A few days later, another young woman also identified Mr. Brinson, whom she called “Steve-O,” as the “main plug” for fentanyl.
On March 8, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Mr. Brinson’s house in Flower Mound, where they encountered his 19-year-old girlfriend apparently under the influence of fentanyl. She told officers that there were crushed-up fentanyl pills near the nightstand in the room that she and Mr. Brinson shared and advised that Brinson had two safes in the bedroom. Inside one of the safes, Carrollton police officers found multiple bags containing more than 1,000 blue counterfeit M/30 pills that field tested positive for fentanyl:
Officers also found a digital scale covered in drug residue, small drug baggies used for repackaging for sale, and bulk U.S. currency. On a console table at the bottom of the stairs, they also found a note from Mr. Brinson’s parents outlining chores they wanted him to do and warning him, “don’t meet people in front of the house or in view of the house.” (Mr. Brinson’s father later told law enforcement he and his wife knew Stephen used fentanyl but claimed they did not know he was dealing pills in front of the home.)
Meanwhile, law enforcement observed Mr. Brinson load a large bag into his Lexus and followed him to a nearby parking lot, where cooperating defendants claimed he often conducted drug transactions. Inside the car, officers found an FN 5.7 pistol, commonly referred to a “cop killer,” and an AR-15 platform rifle; inside Brinson’s sock, they found a small baggy containing an M/30 pill. When he arrived at the Carrollton Jail for processing, Mr. Brinson began kicking his cell door and shouting. He later insisted he was “minding his own [expletive] business in my white-[expletive] house in Flower Mound,” and advised agents and officers that because he was white and living in Flower Mound, Texas, that was going to help him in his case.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Like all defendants, Mr. Brinson is presumed innocent until proven guilty, as are Mr. Andrews, Mr. Navarrete, Ms. Cano, and Mr. Villarreal.
If convicted, Mr. Brinson faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Field Division and the Carrollton Police Department conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Flower Mound Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rick Calvert and Phelesa Guy 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.