Local bust: 2 men indicted for trafficking enough fentanyl to kill 1 million people

Two men have been federally indicted in Dayton for possession with intent to distribute more than 2,000 grams of fentanyl — an amount a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency website indicated could cause one million fatal overdoses.

Jose Alonso Rios, 35, and Jesus Olegario Vidal Portillo, 21, were each indicted on conspiracy and possession of fentanyl — charges that could lead to prison sentences of 10 years to life if they are convicted.

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Both were indicted Nov. 30 in Dayton’s U.S. District Court after law enforcement filed a complaint saying they were located with two “bricks” of suspected fentanyl each weighing more than 1,000 grams (2.2 pounds). Both are scheduled to be arraigned Friday.

dea.gov website warns first responders that two or three milligrams of fentanyl — which looks like 5 to 7 grains of table salt — could cause death. There are 500 potentially fatal doses in a gram and a criminal complaint and affidavit detailed that two stacks of more than 1,000 grams were found.

A similar bust of two kilograms of fentanyl in Columbus in October prompted Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien to say: "Four and a half pounds of fentanyl is enough to kill all the residents of the city of Columbus."

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Neither the federal prosecutor handling the Dayton case nor the defendants’ attorneys returned messages seeking comment.

A Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agent wrote in the complaint that on Nov. 20, law enforcement around Dayton became aware that Rios was staying at the Comfort Inn on Miller Lane in Butler Twp.

Local and federal law enforcement agents including HSI’s Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) observed Rios, his girlfriend and three minor children get into a black Dodge Journey with a Utah license plate, according to the complaint.

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The complaint noted Rios was from the Phoenix area and had been arrested previously for trying to smuggle 21 pounds of marijuana across the Mexico-U.S. border.

Troopers stopped the vehicle for a traffic violation, and Rios said he was lost going back to Arizona from Chicago and that his son needed emergency medical attention, the complaint said.

Rios’ vehicle stopped at an ER in Huber Heights, and Rios was observed walking in with a blue bag, the complaint said. About an hour later, the special agent wrote, law enforcement saw a minor boy walk out of the ER with the blue bag and leave it near a dumpster.

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The complaint said the boy was checking out vehicles and watched as a man — later identified as Vidal — got out of a gray Toyota Corolla and retrieve the bag.

Troopers stopped Vidal’s vehicle, a K-9 detected narcotics and two 1,000-plus gram bricks of what field tested positive for fentanyl was found on the passenger floorboard, according to the complaint.

The special agent wrote that Rios agreed to speak with officers and said he didn’t know the substance was fentanyl, but did know it was illegal.

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Likewise, Vidal waived his Miranda rights, said he didn’t know Rios and said that he was called from Cincinnati to pick up the package and await further instructions, the complaint said.

The affidavit said that when agents asked Vidal what he did for employment, Vidal answered: “This.”


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