A Methuen man faces up to life in prison after federal agents found nearly $30 million worth of potentially deadly fentanyl in his car and in a closet in his apartment - where they also found a gas mask and a gun - the US Attorney's office in Boston reports.
A second man, who arrived at Angel Javier Morell-Oneill's apartment with $20,000 as Morell-Oneill was being arrested, was also charged as a courier involved in Morell-Oneill's alleged fentanyl business, the US Attorney's office reports.
Morell-Oneill, whom officials say is really a Dominican national who was kicked out of the country in 2015 - under a different name - was stopped while driving what turned out to be two kilograms of fentanyl to a customer on Monday, according to an affidavit by a DEA agent involved in the case.
Back at his apartment, the affidavit continues, agents with a search warrant found two duffel bags filled with a total of 26 fentanyl bricks, along with a plastic bag and smaller egg-shaped packages also filled with the stuff, along with a gun, ammunition, a gas mask and a money counter.
According to a separate affidavit by the agent, Morell-Oneill was quite chatty and said a tractor-trailer driver had recently dropped off a shipment of drugs and that the guy was still in the area and awaiting payment of $40,000 for his work.
As they talked, the affidavit says, he received a number of calls and texts from a man who had $20,000 to go towards the driver's payment. The two agreed to meet in an hour - enough time for agents to bring Morell-Oneill to a nearby State Police barracks for booking and return him to his apartment - with a woman described as his "paramour" handling several of the calls.
When Jose Rodriguez pulled his minivan into a handicap spot outside Morell-Oneill's apartment, he was met by agents who found two hidden compartments in the vehicle, one containing stacks of money bound with rubber bands - $20,000 in all.
Morell-Oneill was charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, which carries a sentence of between 10 years and life, the US Attorney's office reports. Rodriguez was charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to to distribute fentanyl. He faces between three and twenty years in prison if convicted.
In addition to the DEA and State Police, several local police departments, including in Boston, participated in the investigation.