A South Florida man previously described as a fugitive in federal court records has been arrested and charged in connection with a synthetic drug case.
Anthony Castañeda, 42, was arrested Aug. 5 and is awaiting trial in connection with an indictment last year charging him and a co-defendant with “possession with intent to distribute” the drug known as Molly.
It’s just the latest case involving synthetic drugs that are flooding the narcotics market. A lot of these drugs were made in China and illegally shipped to the United States via mail delivery packages of private parcel services.
The case was filed as a federal grand jury indictment on Nov. 6, 2014, against two men, Castañeda and Louis Florez-Burgos — both of whom initially were listed in court documents as fugitives.
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By Feb. 10, however, Florez-Burgos had been arrested, according to court documents. But it wasn’t until early July that court records show Castañeda in custody.
Castañeda’s arrest came soon after Florez pleaded guilty to Count 1 of the indictment — that he “knowingly and intentionally” possessed Molly with intent to distribute it.
Court records associated with Florez’s guilty plea show that the case began as far back as 2012 when authorities detected and seized a package containing about 3 1/4 pounds of Molly. The package was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations, a unit of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Homeland Security Investigations decided to deliver the package to continue the investigation. It was addressed to Florez at an apartment building in the 2000 block of North Bayshore Drive in Miami.
On Dec. 5, 2012, an agent posed as a desk clerk at the building and delivered the package to a man who identified himself as Florez and who was accompanied by three other individuals.
When Florez took possession of the package, other agents detained him. The court record says he agreed to talk to the agents.
Florez acknowledged that he was expecting the package but said his co-defendant “paid him $250 for each package of ‘Molly’ he received on his behalf,” according to the court record.
“The defendant elected to cooperate with law enforcement, and a subsequent controlled delivery of the same package was conducted with the co-defendant,” the court record said.
The court document did not identify Florez’s co-defendant, but the only co-defendant mentioned in the indictment and the judge’s docket is Castañeda.
Also, the court document does not say when that delivery to the co-defendant was carried out.
Castañeda has pleaded not guilty and is now awaiting trial. Homeland Security Investigations declined comment on the ground that the case is still under investigation.