Florida investigators shut down fentanyl trafficking operation, seize enough drugs to kill 4 million people

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Florida officials announced they shut down a major fentanyl trafficking operation, seizing enough fentanyl to kill 4 million people, the Attorney General’s office announced Wednesday. 

State Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and Clay County’s Sheriff’s Office cooperated on an investigation that led to two arrests, collecting 8.35 kilograms of fentanyl,1.36 kilograms of cocaine and 2.38 kilograms of methamphetamine. The two suspects appear to have been at the top of the distribution chain as they “ordered and then distributed large quantities of fentanyl to other dealers in Clay and Duval counties,” according to a press release. 

Police arrested Alvin “AJ” Mercado and Jason Setzer on Sept. 10. 

Jason Setzer is in the Clay County Jail charged with narcotics trafficking and has a bond of $17 million.

Jason Setzer is in the Clay County Jail charged with narcotics trafficking and has a bond of $17 million. (Clay County Sheriff’s Office)

FLORIDA POLICE UNIT SEIZES ENOUGH FENTANYL TO KILL 1.5 MILLION ADULTS

“Fentanyl is killing Americans at a record pace, and these drug traffickers compiled enough of this deadly synthetic opioid to kill everyone within 18 counties of their criminal operation,” Moody said in a statement. “Thankfully, working with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, we were able to take these deadly drugs off the streets before they could kill Floridians.”

The investigation, which began in July, also involved the United States Postal Service and Florida Highway Patrol, in addition to the attorney general’s special team and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. 

The sheriff's office served the first search warrant on Jason Setzer, a Heritage Hills subdivision resident. Setzer is charged with trafficking in Fentanyl, trafficking in cocaine, trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of over twenty grams of cannabis, conspiracy to traffic in Fentanyl in excess of 2,000 grams, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The sheriff’s office served the first search warrant on Jason Setzer, a Heritage Hills subdivision resident. Setzer is charged with trafficking in Fentanyl, trafficking in cocaine, trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of over twenty grams of cannabis, conspiracy to traffic in Fentanyl in excess of 2,000 grams, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. (Clay County Sheriff’s Office)

Investigators looked into a trafficking organization that was using USPS to order fentanyl from California. The suspects allegedly sent cash across the country and received “blue and purple fentanyl bricks in return.” 

Mercado allegedly placed the orders for the bricks and later took them to Setzer to break them up into smaller quantities before they were distributed to dealers. 

The suspects allegedly sent cash to California and received bricks of fentanyl in return via the United States Postal Service.

The suspects allegedly sent cash to California and received bricks of fentanyl in return via the United States Postal Service. (Clay County Sheriff’s Office)

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Setzer is charged with trafficking in fentanyl, trafficking in cocaine, trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis, conspiracy to traffic in fentanyl in excess of 2,000 grams and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. If convicted, Setzer faces up to 140 years in prison, and is currently being held in the Clay County Jail on a total bond of $17 million.

Mercado is charged with trafficking in fentanyl and conspiracy to traffic in fentanyl in excess of 2,000 grams. If convicted, Mercado faces up to 60 years in prison, and is being held on a $10 million bond.

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