SNOHOMISH — As he awaited sentencing in federal court for selling fentanyl-laced pills, a Snohomish man calling himself the Italian Stallion allegedly set up a deal to sell hundreds more of the pills laced with the highly potent drug, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle announced on Friday afternoon.
The suspect would tell his drug contacts to call him by the nickname, but in reality, he was neither a Balboa nor a Soprano. His true name was Michael John Scott, one of 32 defendants charged in a federal drug trafficking case unsealed in late 2018.
A U.S. District Court judge in Seattle sentenced Scott to 6½ years in federal prison on Jan. 24, for being a “high-volume redistributor of fentanyl-laced imitation oxycodone pills and cocaine.” He was then released on bond.
By then he’d already set up the drug deal — with a confidential source, under the surveillance of law enforcement — but he hadn’t carried it out, according to federal prosecutors.
He was pulled over on I-5 on his way to Whatcom County, with about 900 pills, heroin and cash, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A later search of his home revealed more drugs, and a stolen loaded gun in his bedside table.
Scott faces up to 20 years in prison for the new drug charges.
In the earlier case, another confidential source set up deals to buy heroin on Facebook Messenger in 2017, an investigation that ultimately revealed a “rotating cast of couriers” who would deliver the goods.
At one point, agents found the ring was selling blue M-30 pills that look like oxycodone, but actually contained fentanyl, a far more powerful synthetic drug. It can be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and it has been linked to a spike in opioid overdoses.
“This (sic) pills are manufactured in clandestine laboratories, these are not pharmaceutical,” one of the dealers on the internet explained, according to federal court records.
At a stash apartment in August 2018, agents seized $164,000 in cash, over 3,000 of the fentanyl-laced pills and almost a kilogram of heroin.
That same week, people in the drug ring had delivered 5,000 fentanyl-laced pills to Scott’s business office in Lynnwood, and Scott paid $150,000 for drugs that had been supplied to him earlier, court records show.
Over the following months, Scott made transactions involving tens of thousands of dollars and thousands of fentanyl pills.
Financial records of Scott’s supposed telecommunications business showed 98 percent of the deposits were in cash.
Almost 90 search warrants were obtained to dismantle the ring in December 2018. Agents carried out one of those warrants at Scott’s home in the 8000 block of 150th Street Southeast. He tried to flush pills down the toilet, and hastily stuffed two gallon-sized Ziploc bags full of pills — and a few smaller bags — into a garbage can, according to federal court records.
“The quantities of drugs that Scott put into the community have impacted an untold number of lives, perpetuating the struggle of addicts, introducing new users to the scourge of drug use, contributing to the property crimes and other offenses necessary for addicts to support their habits, and fueling the homelessness crisis and drug-related violence,” federal prosecutors wrote days ago in a sentencing memo.
They noted he apparently hadn’t learned his lesson from a 12-month prison sentence handed down in 2014, for trafficking in cocaine.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.