Counterfeit Oxycodone Tablet Containing Fentanyl. Source: DEA

According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, a Riverside, California man was charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs. A lengthy investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) after the overdose death of a Navy service member led to the charges against Marcel Travon Robinson III. At the scene, investigators found six blue pills that appeared to be oxycodone pills. Testing revealed the pills contained fentanyl, acetaminophen, and other chemicals.

In court documents, investigators said the Petty Officer Second Class TB purchased the pills from “SM” who in turn purchased his supply from Robinson. According to The San Diego Union-Tribune “SM” is being prosecuted on state charges. In July 2018, a Confidential Source (CS) informed investigators that they had purchased counterfeit oxycodone pills, frequently referred to as “blues,” on 20-30 occasions from a dealer who lived in Riverside. The phone number provided by the CS matched one in SM’s phone referred to as Marcel or Josh. That phone number belonged to Robinson.

That same month, an NCIS Undercover Agent (UCA) contacted Robinson about purchasing pills from him. In just over three months, Robinson sold thousands of counterfeit oxycodone pills to two different UCAs. Several of the deals happened within 1,000 feet of schools with drugs and payments frequently hidden inside food containers or bottles for household products. Additionally, Robinson sold a UCA a revolver that was reported stolen on October 26, 2014.

Petty Officer Second Class TB is not the first member of our armed services to fall victim to a counterfeit fentanyl pill. In January 2017, a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton died after taking a fake fentanyl pill, and these two are not California’s only victims of counterfeit medicines. For more information on counterfeit drug incidents from the Golden State, please read PSM’s California 2018 Infosheet.