Feds bust Portland man for importing opioid from China

John W. Schantz_560503

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Federal authorities arrested a 26-year-old man who is accused of importing a synthetic opioid into Oregon from China.

Magistrate Judge Paul Papak ordered John W. Schantz be held in custody until Dec. 4 when a detention hearing will be held. Schantz is charged with attempted possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance, unlawful importation of a controlled substance and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

On Nov. 27, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service located a package that was being shipped to a woman named “Destiny Bentely” in the 10200 block of Northwest 112th Avenue in Portland. The shipping label included an address from Shanghai, China. The package was listed as including “pants zippers,” according to a federal complaint filed by a special agent assigned to the Department of Homeland Security.

When officials inspected the package, they determined the contents felt like a powdery substance — something not consistent with pants zippers.

Investigators took additional precautions while handling the package because of the powdery feel and that it came from China as federal investigators have seized numerous packages that included dangerous drugs from China in the past. Most recently, Joseph Richard Caruso was indicted by a federal grand jury for attempted possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and unlawful importation of a controlled substance.

Investigators later confirmed Caruso had imported Cyclopropyl-fentanyl from China and is the suspect in a fentanyl overdose death out of Wisconsin.

The package seized in Schantz’s case was taken to the Portland Police Bureau’s Drugs and Vice Division for evidentiary inspection. Police used a ventilated hood and unsealed the package. Inside, police discovered a heat-sealed Mylar bag and a clear zip baggie containing a fine off-white powdery substance, according to the federal complaint.

The bag weighed nearly 103 grams, according to court documents.

PPB transported the bag down to the Oregon State Police Crime Lab where the substance was confirmed to be Para-Fluoroisobutyryl Fentanyl.

“Para-Fluoroisobutyryl Fentanyl is an extremely potent analog of fentanyl and is normally taken in dosages of 1 to 4 micrograms,” according to court documents.

Para-Fluoroisobutyryl Fentanyl is considered a Schedule I controlled substance.

According to the DEA, a controlled substance “analog” is a substance which is intended for human consumption and is structurally or pharmacologically substantially similar to or is represented as being similar to a Schedule I or Schedule II substance and is not an approved medication in the United States.

Investigators removed the potentially dangerous substance and inserted an “inert powder” and re-sealed the package, according to court documents. The package was then put back into the delivery system under law enforcement observation. Hours later, Schantz was seen by investigators walking to his mailbox along Northwest 112th Avenue. Investigators executed a search warrant and found 800 pills of counterfeit Oxycodone and Valium pills, 2 pill presses, multiple dye casts, a loaded Ruger .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun, 245 rounds of .22 caliber ammo, unknown white powder, various binding agents and dyes, $1,142, several cellphones computers and digital media, documents, shipping items and digital scales.

Schantz was interviewed by investigators and told them that he had ordered 100 grams of Para-Fluoroisobutyryl Fentanyl from a website and had the drugs shipped to the name “Destiny Bentley,” according to court documents. Investigators learned Bentley is actually Schantz’ girlfriend and he used her name in order to protect himself from law enforcement detection.

The DEA defines Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse, such as heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone and peyote.

Records show Schantz has several felony drug convictions including possession of heroin, supplying contraband and attempted possession of heroin.

Schantz preliminary hearing is set for Dec. 4 at 1:30 p.m.

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