Two men from South King County have been federally charged with drug crimes in connection to trafficking counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran on May 13.
Chase Friedrich, 28, was arrested April 21 at his apartment in Des Moines. His drug supplier, 28-year-old Raoul V. Normandia Jr., was arrested April 24 near his residence in Federal Way.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Friedrich allegedly sold counterfeit Percocet pills to a Navy sailor — and that sailor provided them to another sailor who died of a drug overdose.
The pills are presumed to have been tainted with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid pain reliever that can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine and can cause fatal overdoses.
On April 18, the investigation began when a Navy sailor was found dead in his workspace aboard a ship at the Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton. Two counterfeit pills, presumed to be laced with fentanyl, were found in his pocket.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS) were able to identify the sailor who provided the initial pills to the victim and identified Friedrich as the supplier, the Department of Justice reported.
A search of Friedrich’s apartment revealed cocaine, a handgun, and a bag of about 100 counterfeit pills.
Investigators were able to trace the pills and cocaine back to Normandia. When he was arrested a few blocks from his Federal Way home in April, law enforcement found cocaine in his vehicle. During a court‑authorized search of Normandia’s residence, officers found firearms, ammunition, body armor, narcotics and various signs of the drug trade, including scales, baggies, heat sealers, Moneygram receipts and 20 cell phones, according to the Department of Justice.
Both men have made their initial court appearances and are being held on a federal charge of possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute. The charges contained in the complaints are only allegations.
The case is being investigated by NCIS and the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office as a part of the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team (WestNET) and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lyndsie Schmalz.