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Fifth person arrested in multiple North Texas fentanyl busts

An 18-year-old has been arrested in Flower Mound in connection to fentanyl trafficking in North Texas.

FLOWER MOUND, Texas — A fifth person has been arrested in four weeks connected to fentanyl trafficking in North Texas.

Federal officials announced Friday that 18-year-old Stephen Paul Brinson, of Flower Mound, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with conspiracy to distribute a schedule II controlled substance. 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Brinson supplied fentanyl to 20-year-old Donovan Jude Andrews, an alleged Carrollton drug dealer accused of capitalizing on the arrest of two fentanyl traffickers to advertise fentanyl to minors. 

Court documents state Andrews allegedly commented on an Instagram post announcing the arrest of the two traffickers, Luis Navarrete and Magaly Cano, in early February 2023. Andrews is allegedly tied to at least one juvenile fentanyl overdose, and Mr. Navarrete and Ms. Cano, along with their supplier, Jason Villanueva, are allegedly tied to ten others, the DOJ said.

“In just four weeks, we have charged five adults accused of trafficking deadly fentanyl to children. The Justice Department will deploy every investigative technique, pursue every lead, and exhaust every legal avenue available to eradicate counterfeit fentanyl pills,” said U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton. “In the meantime, we urge the community to remind our young people: Any pill not prescribed by a doctor could be lethal. One pill can kill.”

The DOJ said law enforcement identified Brinson shortly after they arrested Andrews and his juvenile driver, identified in court documents as “DC,” a Hebron high school student who allegedly chauffeured the dealer around in exchange for fentanyl pills.

In DC’s phone, DEA agents found text messages identifying the Instagram user “superstarxs” – later identified as Brinson – as a “plug,” or source, for fentanyl pills, according to a DOJ release. A few days later, another young woman also identified Brinson, whom she called “Steve-O,” as the “main plug” for fentanyl.

Law enforcement executed a search warrant of Brinson's home in Flower Mound on March 8, where they made contact with a 19-year-old apparently under the influence of fentanyl, DOJ officials said. The teen told officers that there were crushed-up fentanyl pills near the nightstand in the room and advised that Brinson had two safes in the bedroom. Inside one of the safes, Carrollton police officers found multiple bags containing more than 1,000 blue counterfeit M/30 pills that field tested positive for fentanyl (pictured below).

Credit: U.S. DOJ
Credit: U.S. DOJ

Officers also found a digital scale covered in drug residue, small drug baggies used for repackaging for sale, and bulk U.S. currency., federal officials said.

Law enforcement saw Brinson load a large bag into his Lexus and followed him to a nearby parking lot, believed to be where he often conducted drug transactions. Inside the car, officers found an FN 5.7 pistol and  an AR-15 platform rifle, the DOJ said. A small baggy containing an M/30 pill was also found in Brinson's sock, according to the DOJ. 

If convicted, Mr. Brinson faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

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