MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Federal prosecutors unsealed indictments Tuesday against 21 people accused of running a Fentanyl drug traffic ring and two of those people are from South Florida.
Anthony Gomes and Elizabeth Ton were arrested on October 11 following a raid on an $850,000 home in the upscale Laurel Oaks community of Davie. They were both charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance that could cause serious injury or bodily harm.
The raid on their Davie home was part of an investigation into a long-running, international drug ring accused of bringing the dangerous and deadly drug Fentanyl into the United States from 2013 to 2016.
At a news conference in Washington Tuesday, Justice Department officials also announced the indictments of two Chinese nationals on charges of manufacturing tons of fentanyl and other powerful narcotics that were peddled in the U.S., killing at least four people and seriously injuring five others.
The Justice Department said the investigation began in January 2015 when police in Grand Fork, North Dakota responded to a Fentanyl overdose and began working backward from there with a host of federal agencies and regional Homeland Security task forces across the country, including those in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
After the raid in Davie last week, the Acting Deputy Director of ICE Peter Edge said among the items taken from the home were $175,000 in cash and two firearms, in addition to a luxury Maserati sports car. Edge said the chief coordinator of the drug distribution scheme was a 19-year-old from Portland, Oregon.
The two Chinese men, who controlled this prolific international drug-trafficking ring, may never be brought to the US to face charges because there is no extradition treaty with China.
They are accused of separately running chemical labs in China that produced the drug and other illegal opioids for sale online to Americans who were often unaware of its potency and susceptible to overdose.
Five Canadians and a New Jersey man were also named in the indictment with Gomes and Ton for conspiracy to import the drugs from Canada and China.
One of the labs in China was traced back as the drug source of a deadly overdose in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Federal authorities are increasingly warning of the dangers of Fentanyl, which can be lethal even in small amounts and is often laced with other dangerous drugs. It's so powerful, even inhaling or touching the drug can kill you.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that more than 20,000 Americans were killed by the drug in 2016.
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