TEXARKANA, Texas — A federal indictment unsealed this week accuses a Texarkana man of drug and weapons offenses related to the alleged trafficking of fentanyl.
Darell Montrell Trotter, 32, is the only defendant named in a two-count indictment unsealed Thursday in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas. Trotter entered pleas of not guilty Thursday at an arraignment hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven to charges of possession with intent to distribute more than 400 grams of fentanyl and carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid more powerful than morphine. The drug is used in surgical settings and for management of pain associated with terminal illnesses, such as cancer.
“Illicit fentanyl, primarily manufactured in foreign clandestine labs and smuggled into the United States through Mexico, is being distributed across the country and sold on the illegal drug market. Fentanyl is being mixed in with other illicit drugs to increase the potency of the drug, sold as powders and nasal sprays, and increasingly pressed into pills made to look like legitimate prescription opioids.
“Because there is no official oversight or quality control, these counterfeit pills often contain lethal doses of fentanyl, with none of the promised drug,” according to the Drug Enforcement Administration website.
Two men are currently charged in Bowie County with distribution of a controlled substance causing serious bodily injury in connection with the near-fatal fentanyl overdose of an 18-year-old Texarkana woman in December.
“DEA lab testing reveals that four out of every 10 pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose,” the DEA’s website states.
Trotter’s indictment alleges he was in possession of more than 400 grams of fentanyl Dec. 14 and that at the time, he was also in possession of a Hipoint 9 mm pistol, a Maverick 12-gauge shotgun, a Marlin long rifle and “associated ammunition” as part of alleged drug trafficking. The indictment includes a notice of the government’s intent to seek forfeiture of the guns and ammunition, as well as a monetary judgment of $100,000 meant to represent the proceeds of alleged drug trafficking.
Trotter appeared before Craven via video Thursday with Arlington, Texas, lawyer Gerald Smith. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Hornok is representing the government.
Craven scheduled Trotter for a detention hearing in early March. Cases involving drug trafficking typically carry a presumption that the accused will remain in custody while their case proceeds, though defendants have the right to present evidence and make arguments to overcome the presumption and gain pretrial release.
Trotter faces up to life in prison if convicted of possessing fentanyl with the intent to distribute more than 400 grams. If found guilty of carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense, Trotter faces a minimum of five years and a maximum of life, and any term imposed must be served consecutively to any sentence for the underlying offense.
Records show Trotter was booked into the Bowie County jail on Tuesday and remains in the custody of U.S. Marshals.
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