ATTLEBORO — A 23-year-old city man was arrested Tuesday after police raided his apartment and seized over three kilograms of what they said were counterfeit prescription pills with an estimated $57,000 street value, as well as alleged crystal methamphetamine and cocaine.
Nathaniel Mayer, 199 South Main St., Apt. 1L, was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in Attleboro District Court on various drug trafficking, distribution and possession charges.
His arrest was without incident and came after an investigation into the sale of counterfeit pills in the area that lasted several months and was conducted by Attleboro Detective Gabriel D’Agostino III, police said.
Police executed a search warrant at Mayer’s apartment around noon and seized what is believed to be three kilos of counterfeit Xanax pills and 43 grams of tablets believed to be counterfeit Adderall, according to Deputy Police Chief Timothy Cook Jr.
Actual Xanax pills have an estimated street value of $57,000 and generally are sold for $7 to $10 a pill, according to Cook.
The fake Adderall pills are believed to contain methamphetamine and fentanyl, he said.
Police also seized about 25 grams of alleged crystal meth, 11 grams of suspected cocaine and $1,300 cash, Cook said.
Police are seeing more counterfeit prescription pills on the street being sold as the actual narcotics.
“It’s a trend that’s become more prevalent recently,” Cook said.
The bust comes a day after the federal Drug Enforcement Administration issued a public safety alert, the first in six years, warning of the alarming increase in the lethality and availability of fake prescription pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine.
The DEA said the counterfeit pills are marketed as legitimate prescription pills and are killing unsuspecting Americans at an unprecedented rate. More than 9.5 million counterfeit pills have been seized so far this year, more the last two years combined, and in every state in the county, the agency said.
In the Attleboro area, Cook said police suspect counterfeit pills have been responsible for drug overdoses. He did not want to comment specifically about Mayer’s case but said the amount of counterfeit pills seized was alarming.
“The amount of illicit substances the investigators have taken off the streets is impressive, to say the least,” Cook said.
The pills will now not land in the hands of addicts, who could have overdosed or even died, he said.
According to the DEA, laboratory testing reveals a dramatic rise in the number of counterfeit pills containing at least two milligrams of fentanyl, which is considered a lethal dose. A deadly dose of fentanyl is small enough to fit on the tip of a pencil, the agency said.
Assisting Attleboro police in the raid were Norton police, agents from the DEA’s New Bedford office and U.S. Postal Inspection investigators and members of the Northern Bristol County Drug Task Force.
Cook said postal inspection investigators were involved because it is believed that Mayer received counterfeit pills through the mail.