Luis Manuel Charchabal was arrested in Miami-Dade, Florida on Thursday on drug trafficking charges after a long-term investigation by Miami-Dade police and the state attorney’s office. He was reportedly found in possession of 2.5 kilos of heroin and fentanyl.
Charchabal, 53, is being charged with three counts of possession of fentanyl with intent to deliver and three counts of illegal trafficking of heroin. His bond was set at $1 million. It is unclear if he has acquired the services of an attorney.
According to the arrest report, Charchabal reportedly sold more than 30 grams of heroin to a police informant at the beginning of the year through a series of transactions. During one of the transactions, he allegedly told the informant that he had another drug called “China White.” He offered to sell two kilos of the drug (fentanyl) for $100,000.
Fentanyl is a synthetic and more portent version of heroin; even a small amount of the drug can kill an adult. Charchabal reportedly told the informant to give someone he didn’t like a “little dose” of the fentanyl “to watch them fall,” the report said.
Miami-Dade state attorney’s office spokesperson Ed Griffith told the press that this may be the largest seizure of heroin and fentanyl they have every recorded in the county. The use of fentanyl has become more widespread in Miami-Dade over the last few years. Fentanyl is much cheaper to produce and is 50 to 80 times stronger than heroin; it is often sold on the streets as heroin or mixed with heroin to up its potency. There have been dozens of cases of overdose involving heroin cut with fentanyl to create a more powerful drug combination.
Given the dangerous nature of the drug, the arresting police officers took special precautions in the handling and testing of the substance for their own safety.
“Selling fentanyl is selling death by a different name,” State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told news sources. “The opioid epidemic that America, Florida and Miami-Dade County are all experiencing is made possible by those individuals who see illegal profits as more important than human life.
“In this community, we will continue to fight such drug dealers on the streets and work to end addiction through our drug court. Working hand-in-hand with the Miami-Dade Police Department, we have potentially saved thousands of lives with this superb investigations. These officers deserve the thanks of the entire community,” Rundle said.
In a statement to the press, Miami-Dade Police Department Director Juan J. Perez emphasized the ongoing impact of opioids in the region.
“This case serves as just one example of the ongoing efforts of Narcotics Bureau detectives who will continue to work diligently, together with our law enforcement partners, to prevent additional overdose tragedies related to this poison,” Perez said.
Trafficking in controlled substances is a first-degree felony. It is the most serious drug offense tried in Florida’s courts. A person does not need to be involved in the selling, manufacturing, or delivery of drugs to get charged with trafficking. The act of possessing a large quantity of a controlled substance like heroin is all it takes, and the more you have, the worse the repercussions are.