Affidavit: Man caught transporting over 70k fentanyl pills in Evansville

Affidavit: Man caught transporting over 70k fentanyl pills in Evansville
Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 10:52 AM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - DEA officials say they’ve arrested a man and seized 74,000 pills of fentanyl after a months long investigation.

“When we can get this type of drugs off the street, this amount of fentanyl, it’s a huge, big win,” said Michael Gannon, Assistant Special Agent in Charge for the DEA Indianapolis office.

Officials are lauding the work of their Evansville office after Monday’s drug bust. This ended a months-long investigation where officials used controlled buys to seize a monumental amount of fentanyl.

“When you look at approximately 70,000 pills taken off the street, if that didn’t happen here, it could’ve went anywhere in the United States,” Gannon said.

According to an affidavit, undercover officers began messaging with an account from Mexico back in May.

Officers negotiated a sale for 4,000 fentanyl pills. After that, officials say they negotiated a second sale this time of 50,000 fentanyl pills coming from California.

Javier Moreno-Garibaldi was taken into custody after he was caught transporting the pills to the second sale on Monday.

“For us it never stops, because we’re constantly trying to identify who’s bringing it in, who the source of supply is, and we just keep going right up the food chain,” Gannon said.

Two milligrams of fentanyl can be a deadly dosage, Gannon says, and the amount of fentanyl seized was around 16 pounds. That means the total load had the power to kill over 3.5 million people. That’s 30 times the population of Evansville.

According to the affidavit, Moreno-Garibaldi says he was told by someone else to transport the drugs from Arizona to Evansville, and bring the money back to Arizona.

Garibaldi says he thought he was transporting cocaine, not fentanyl.

“I talk often with parents that lost a loved one, and I just want them to know that we’re out there each and every day doing the best we can to make our community a safe place,” Gannon said.

Gannon says it’s impossible to execute these investigations without local law enforcement’s help.

He says the DEA’s investigation was assisted by the Evansville Police Department, the Owensboro Police Department, and the Vanderburgh Co. Sheriff’s Office.

Moreno-Garibaldi had an initial appearance in federal court on Wednesday afternoon.

He faces a federal distribution of fentanyl charge.