10K fentanyl pills, 29 guns, $980K found in Arlington bust

The Arlington suspect was caught as he tried to cross into the U.S. from Mexico on Sept. 1.

ARLINGTON — An Arlington-area home was stocked with $980,000 in hidden cash, 29 guns and about 10,000 fentanyl pills designed to look like oxycodone, according to federal charges filed against two men Friday.

A tip led law enforcement to tail a Bellingham man, who was driving to the home July 27. The man, 30, made a brief stop at the address south of Arlington, then started driving back north.

A traffic stop revealed the man had three bags full of 1,000 fake pills, containing fentanyl instead of oxycodone, according to the federal charges. Fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic opioid, 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin. Its rise has been attributed to a dramatic national spike in overdoses.

A team of police led by the Drug Enforcement Administration obtained warrants to search the doublewide mobile home, belonging to a 39-year-old Arlington man.

Over a series of searches, they found $400,000 hidden in two safes, in the office and a master bedroom; $270,000 behind a water heater; $200,000 in the dishwasher; and $110,000 behind the drywall, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle.

Some signs of wealth were more flashy.

A $100,000 Nissan GT-R at the home had been registered to “Fun Times Trust,” and listed under the man’s address. He also had a $25,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a $35,000 vintage Chevrolet Nova and a new $65,000 GMC Denali, according to the charges.

In the office trash can, federal authorities seized shipping labels marked “Lab Supplies.” One had been sent from an address in Nanjing, China, to a home near Verlot in Snohomish County.

A total of 29 guns were recovered, including pistols and military-style rifles, as well as three silencers. Thousands of rounds of live ammunition were seized.

The massive stash of fraudulent pills weighed more than 4 pounds, according to the charges. Authorities believe the drugs were trafficked as Percocet. The fake 30 mg pills were pale blue, marked with an M on one side and a “30” on the other.

“Along with all the usual and terrible risks associated with illegal drugs, these pose the added problem of appearing to be one thing – oxycodone – when they are something altogether different, and even more dangerous,” U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes said in a written statement.

The Arlington man was caught earlier this month, as he tried to cross the border into the United States from Mexico on Sept. 1.

On Friday he was charged with five counts of drug distribution and illegal possession of firearms. He had a felony conviction from 2004 out of Island County, for using a building for unlawful drug activity. The Bellingham man has been charged with criminal conspiracy and possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute.

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; chutton@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.

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