Last week’s $2 million fentanyl task force bust began with surveillance of a Miamisburg hotel and ended two days later at three Dayton and Harrison Twp. houses, including one in an area “notorious for drug trafficking,” according to documents filed in Dayton’s U.S. District Court.
Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer said during a press conference last week that the four men arrested with 44 pounds of fentanyl, 20 pounds of marijuana, more than 400 grams each of cocaine, heroin and $120,000 in cash were tied to the Sinaloa cartel.
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Dagoberto Verdugo-Aguirre, 45, Julio Castillo-Egurrola, 30, Cabrera Alvarez, 42, and Emmanuel Sanchez-Perez, 28, are all facing a complaint of conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, which carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison for those found guilty.
All were ordered on Wednesday to be detained without bond before trial by U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice, who was filling in for Magistrate Judge Michael Newman.
Assistant U.S. attorney Laura Clemmens said the government “would absolutely oppose” any kind of release due to the alleged amount of fentanyl and that, “the safety of the community is paramount.”
Rice told the defendants he was sympathetic to the fact some of them had either a pregnant wife, young children or are their family’s sole provider. Two of the defendants live in the U.S. and two live in Mexico.
At 8 a.m. April 10, a Homeland Security Investigations task force officer observed Verdugo in a room at a Miamisburg hotel. The officer wrote that database checks showed Verdugo and Castillo had been involved in recent drug and currency smuggling investigations.
Two days later, a black Nissan Armada pulled into the hotel parking lot and Castillo removed a black bag before returning to his room. Some agents followed the Nissan driven by Sanchez to 332 Hillway Dr. in Harrison Twp.
“Agents were aware that the area where the home is located is notorious for drug trafficking and that the owner of the house has been associated with other drug trafficking investigations,” the officer wrote.
Agents saw Sanchez drive to the Northwest Plaza on Siebenthaler Ave. and meet with Alvarez, who was driving a black Chevrolet Silverado. Officers saw a short-term exchange of a black box.
Both men gave consent to vehicle searches, including the black box, which contained 11 packages — one which field-tested positive for fentanyl.
Agents saw Verdugo and Castillo leave the Miamisburg hotel on foot with several bags, then get in a taxi which drove to a nearby Chase Bank branch. Officers stopped the taxi in Dayton and a drug dog alerted to narcotics.
“Castillo admitted being a money courier for drug smugglers out of Mexico,” the task force officer wrote, adding that Castillo said he and Verdugo were to be paid $1,500 to make bank deposits.
Sanchez, who is not a U.S. citizen and has been deported before, gave consent to search 332 Hillway Drive, the affidavit said, and about 15 kilograms of suspected drugs were found hidden in the basement, including more than 400 grams of both heroin and cocaine.
Task force leader Capt. Mike Brem said last week that drugs were at the Hillway Drive home plus residences located at 110 Klee Ave. and 115 South Delmar Ave. in Dayton.