Bloomington police said Thursday that they caught a 36-year-old man at a hotel with 24 pounds of fentanyl pills, one of the largest seizures in the state of the potent opioid that is causing a surge in overdose-related deaths and big headaches for law enforcement.
Marcus Trice, 36, of the Seattle area is charged in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis with possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. Trice remains in federal custody in the Sherburne County jail without bail and has a court hearing scheduled for Nov. 10.
Trice's attorney, F. Clayton Tyler, declined to comment late Thursday afternoon about the allegations against his client.
Charges of first-degree possession with intent to distribute and credit card fraud also have been filed in Hennepin County District Court in connection with this arrest.
According to police and federal and state charges:
Bloomington officers responded Aug. 31 to a report of a possible act of fraud at a hotel involving Trice allegedly using someone else's identity and credit card to pay $205 for a room.
Trice appeared nervous as he told the officers he was in Minnesota for a funeral but could not name the person who died.
A subsequent search of his luggage turned up 24 pounds of fentanyl pills and several credit cards. The pills were suspected to be counterfeits of the opioid oxycodone.
"This is the largest seizure of fentanyl ever for Bloomington [police] and one of the largest seizures recorded for the state," a police statement read.
"Unfortunately, Bloomington, like many other cities across the country, has seen an increase in opioid overdoses and opioid related overdose deaths," the statement continued.
According to Minnesota Department of Health data, there were 678 opioid-related deaths in the state in 2020. That's more than twice as many in 2015, when there were 336. In 2000, the state recorded just 54 deaths attributed to opioids.
Bloomington police took the opportunity to point out that they have a social worker who specializes in drug and alcohol addiction and can be reached for referrals at 952-563-4900.