Man traveling through Missouri charged with fentanyl trafficking after authorities find 9 pounds of counterfeit pills

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 A California man was charged in federal court with smuggling more than four kilograms of counterfeit pills that contain fentanyl aboard a bus traveling through Kansas City, Missouri, from Los Angeles, Calif.

Matthew John Gomez, 27, was charged with one count of possessing fentanyl with the intent to distribute in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the federal criminal complaint, members of the Missouri Western Interdiction Task Force watched Gomez at a local bus terminal on Wednesday, March 16, as he got off a bus traveling through Kansas City from Los Angeles. Gomez was wearing a backpack and carrying a large duffel bag. He walked out the front doors of the bus terminal and paced back and forth on the sidewalk while making a call on his cell phone. A police detective contacted Gomez, who said he was traveling to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The detective asked Gomez if he would consent to a search of his luggage. Gomez placed his duffel bag on the ground and was in the process of removing his backpack when he quickly stepped away from the detective in an attempt to flee. A struggle ensued, and Gomez was eventually placed under arrest and escorted into the terminal.

A police dog alerted to the presence of drugs in Gomez’s duffel bag and backpack. Officers searched Gomez’s backpack and found three large, heat-sealed packages that contained numerous blue M30 pills. Although blue M30 pills typically contain 30 milligrams of oxycodone hydrochloride, law enforcement officers are aware that such pills are commonly counterfeit pills that are made with fentanyl. The gross weight of the pills was 4,127 grams, which is approximately 9.1 pounds. A forensic specialist with the Kansas City Police Crime Laboratory confirmed that the recovered pills contain fentanyl.

Gomez told investigators he was paid $500 before leaving Los Angeles and was to be paid an additional $2,000 when he returned.

This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah J. Rasalam. It was investigated by the Kansas City Mo., Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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