New Mexico Man Claims He Found 900 Fentanyl Pills Near Slots

A New Mexico man claims he just happened to find 900 fentanyl pills next to a slot machine at the Speaking Rock Casino in El Paso, Texas, and placed them in his pocket for safekeeping.

The Speaking Rock Casino, El Paso
The Speaking Rock Casino in El Paso, where Carlos Javier Morales claimed he “found” a huge stash of drugs while playing a slot machine. (Image: 500 Nations)

A federal grand jury was skeptical and last week charged Carlos Javier Morales from Las Cruces, New Mexico, with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, according to a story from Border Report.  

Morales was accosted in the casino by Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo Tribal police after a detection dog alerted them to the likely presence of drugs in a car in the casino parking lot. Closer inspection of the gray Toyota revealed what appeared to be drugs in the passenger area and a pistol under the seat.

Security video showed that Morales had arrived in the vehicle with two companions, Gabriela Rodriguez and Jose Salas, according to the criminal complaint.

Blue Pills

When the three individuals were detained, Morales refused to remove his hand from his jacket pocket, according to court documents. Officers conducted a body search and found a large bag of blue pills, the documents state.

After receiving permission to search the car from its owner, Rodriguez, police discovered trace amounts of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in the passenger area, and a 9mm Smith & Wesson semi-automatic pistol inside.

In an FBI interview, Morales explained he was getting a ride home from Rodriguez from El Paso to Las Cruces. They stopped at the casino because Morales had “$200 and wanted to gamble,” which is where he says he found the drugs.

The Speaking Rock Casino is owned by the Tigua Indians of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. As such, it operates the Class II “electronic bingo” terminals most commonly found in tribal casinos throughout the U.S. These are “slot-like” machines in which the bets of all players using the machines are pooled to produce payouts, as in regular bingo games.

‘Excessive’ Drug Stash

An FBI agent later determined that the 900 pills were “excessive for somebody who is only a drug user and consistent with somebody who was distributing fentanyl,” according to the complaint.

Morales has also been charged with conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Federal prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of the gun found in the car and several rounds of ammo.

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