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Press Release

Marion Man Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Possess Fentanyl with Intent to Distribute

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia

ABINGDON, Va. – A Marion, Virginia man pleaded guilty last week to one count of possession with the intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl.

According to court documents, Anthony P. Arrindell, 19, ordered illegal fentanyl pills through the mail.  The pills resembled a pharmaceutical preparation of oxycodone-hydrochloride pills, but the pills were inconsistent in size, shape, and color as compared to pharmaceutical-grade pills.  Pills of this type are sometimes referred to as “pressed” or “M30” pills.

In early 2021, law enforcement began investigating a flood of illegal pill distribution in Smyth County, Virginia. On July 21, 2021, United States Postal Inspection Service investigators identified and intercepted a suspected drug parcel. Investigators executed a federal search warrant on the parcel and found it contained what appeared to be pressed fentanyl pills. There were more than 1,700 pills in the package, with a total weight of approximately 188 grams. Lab testing later confirmed that the pills contained fentanyl.

On August 16, 2021, investigators intercepted another suspected drug parcel that had the same California return address as the July parcel. Investigators conducted a controlled delivery of this parcel from the Post Office in Marion. Arrindell came to the Post Office, collected the parcel, and left the Post Office with the parcel. Law Enforcement confronted Arrindell outside the Post Office. Inside the parcel, investigators found approximately 22.7 grams of pressed pills.

“Communities across Virginia have been ravaged by the spread of opioids, leading to higher levels of substance abuse disorder and overdose deaths,” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said today. “When individuals bring these substances into our communities, this United States Attorney’s Office, along with our partners in law enforcement, will act to prosecute those offenders in order to protect the community, especially those struggling to overcome addiction.”

Arrindell, who is scheduled to be sentenced on January 19, 2022, faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison up to a maximum sentence of forty years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine his sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The Smyth County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Whit D. Pierce is prosecuting the case.

Updated October 26, 2021