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fentanyl vial next to a syringe
fentanyl vial next to a syringe

Crime

Ashley Moody, Clay County Sheriff’s Offices Shut Down Major Fentanyl Trafficking Operation

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State Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) teamed up to shut down a fentanyl trafficking operation in Clay County.

This week, Moody announced that as a result of the investigation, CCSO arrested two suspects who ordered and then distributed large quantities of fentanyl to other dealers in Clay and Duval counties. Authorities seized more than eight kilograms of fentanyl, along with assorted amounts of other drugs and various paraphernalia. This is enough fentanyl to kill more than 4 million people—the populations of Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lake, Levy, Marion, Nassau, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns, Union and Volusia Counties combined.

“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. 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,” Moody said.

Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook said, “If you are dealing drugs or involved in the drug trade in any way, shape, or form in Clay County, WE are coming for you. I PROMISE you, every member of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office will continue working hard every day to keep drugs off of Clay County streets.”

In July, the CCSO, along with Moody’s OSP, the United States Postal Service and Florida Highway Patrol, began investigating a multi-kilogram drug trafficking organization utilizing USPS to order fentanyl from California. According to the investigation, Alvin “AJ” Mercado and Jason Setzer sent U.S. currency to a supplier and received shipments of blue and purple fentanyl bricks in return. The suspects distributed the drugs to other dealers in the area, including Duval County. Mercado allegedly coordinated drug orders and shipments, bringing packages to Setzer’s home where Setzer allegedly broke the orders into smaller quantities for distribution.

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Following the execution of multiple search warrants, authorities ultimately seized 8.35 kilograms of fentanyl, 1.36 kilograms of cocaine, 2.38 kilograms of methamphetamine with other drug trafficking paraphernalia.

The amount of fentanyl seized during this investigation is enough to kill approximately 4.18 million people. A lethal dose of this substance is just two milligrams.

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.

Assistant Statewide Prosecutors Kelsey Bledsoe and Johnna Lessard in the Attorney General’s OSP will prosecute the case.

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Ed Dean: Publisher

Ed Dean is a leading radio and news media personality including hosting the #1 statewide radio talk show in Florida. Contact Ed.Dean@FloridaDaily.com

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