Police chief: Bloomington fentanyl bust likely the Midwest's biggest
36-year-old Seattle man is in federal custody in the case
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — A 36-year-old man is in federal custody after an arrest in Bloomington last month in what the city’s police chief says likely is the biggest seizure of fentanyl pills ever in the Midwest.
Marcus Trice, 36, was arrested by Bloomington police on a charge of financial transaction card fraud Aug. 31, 2022. During a search incident to his arrest, several containers of pills were discovered in Trice's luggage. The pills, with a weight of over 24 pounds, tested positive as fentanyl.
Nearly 109,000 fentanyl pills, weighing more than 24 pounds, were seized Aug. 31 at a hotel following the arrest of Marcus Trice on suspicion of financial transaction card fraud, Bloomington Police Chief Booker Hodges said at a Thursday news conference.
To put the bust in perspective, Hodges said, approximately 63,000 pills of the deadly drug were seized all of last year by law enforcement agents and officers from the North Central High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which covers Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Trice, of Seattle, was charged in U.S. District Court on Sept. 20 with one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, according to documents. If convicted, he faces a mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison.
Trice first was charged Sept. 1 in Hennepin County District Court with first-degree possession with intent to distribute and credit card fraud.
Bloomington officers were sent to the hotel on a fraud report after Trice was suspected of using another person’s identity to pay for a room. After Trice was taken into custody, officers discovered the pills in his luggage, Hodges said.
The small round blue “M-Box 30” pills are suspected to be counterfeit Oxycodone, according to the state charges.
“We locked him up, and God willing, he’s going to stay in there,” Hodges said, adding that he believes Trice had been in Bloomington “for just a few hours.”
Detectives with the police department’s special investigation unit worked with the DEA Task Force on additional follow-up on the case. On Sept. 20, Trice was taken into federal custody, where he remains. His attorney did not immediately return a call Thursday seeking comment.
Bloomington, like many other cities across the country, has seen an increase in opioid overdoses and opioid-related overdose deaths, Hodges said. This year, the city has had a record 12 overdose deaths, compared with seven in 2019, eight in 2020 and six last year.
“This is killing a lot of people in Minnesota,” Hodges said.