United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas

04/02/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/02/2024 15:42

Domestic trafficker admits to possession with intent to distribute over 2,000 counterfeit pills

Press Release

Domestic trafficker admits to possession with intent to distribute over 2,000 counterfeit pills

Tuesday, April 2, 2024
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

LAREDO, Texas - A 40-year-old resident of Lake Charles, Louisiana, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute more than 40 grams of fentanyl, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Walter Wellington Somers admitted he possessed more than 2,000 pills containing fentanyl.

On Dec. 23, 2023, law enforcement responded to a call from the Embassy Suites Hotel in Laredo. Hotel staff found what they believed to be drugs in one of the rooms while trying to clean it.

Law enforcement arrived on scene and observed Somers attempting to get back into the room. He claimed he was only there to pay for a television he had broken.

Authorities conducted a search of the hotel room and discovered a silver zipper bag containing several clear plastic bags with a large number of small blue circular pills. They were imprinted with an "M-30" logo. Law enforcement confirmed Somers had been staying in the room and checked out earlier in the day before returning to the hotel.

A laboratory analysis later determined there were a total of 2,319 pills which contained fentanyl.

The investigation revealed Somers had traveled from Louisiana to meet a friend in South Texas. In phone messages between the two, they discussed collecting money and acquiring narcotics. In one audio message, the individual told Somers if he sent $700 or $800 that evening, someone would front them 3,000 pills.

The friend also sent Somers a video of him holding three bags of blue M-30 pills that were identical in size, shape and packaging to the pills seized Dec. 23, 2023.

"One pill can kill - that's the mantra of law enforcement when discussing the dangers of fentanyl-laced pills," said Hamdani. "Laredo's children are dying because of pills similar to the ones Somers possessed. This case exemplifies why we must educate our communities not just on the dangers of fentanyl, but how this lethal drug is disguised to fool people into believing it's nothing more than ordinary prescription medication."

U.S. District Judge Diana SaldaƱa will impose sentencing at a later date. At that time, Somers faces up to 40 years in federal prison and a possible $5 million maximum fine.

Somers will remain in custody pending that hearing.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and Laredo Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brittany Jensen and Brian Bajew are prosecuting the case.

This case is being prosecuted as part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF is the largest anti-crime task force in the country. OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found on the Department of Justice's OCDETF webpage.

More information on the dangers of fentanyl can be found on the DEA's website. #OnePillCanKill

Updated April 2, 2024
Topic
Drug Trafficking