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Twin Cities Man Pleads Guilty to Shipping, Distributing Fentanyl Pills Hidden Inside Stuffed Animals

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Twin Cities man has pleaded guilty to his role in a drug trafficking conspiracy that transported fentanyl to the Twin Cities hidden inside stuffed animals, announced United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to court documents, between August 2022 and December 2023, Cornell Montez Chandler, Jr., 25, and others conspired with each other to distribute fentanyl pills throughout the Twin Cities. As part of the conspiracy, Chandler flew from the Twin Cities to Phoenix to buy fentanyl from suppliers and ship it through the U.S. Postal Service to the Twin Cities for distribution. Chandler and his co-conspirators placed fentanyl pills in bags that were then hidden inside stuffed animals and disguised as birthday presents. The conspirators lined the interiors of the packages with dog treats in an attempt to prevent drug-sniffing dogs from alerting to them. In January and February 2023, law enforcement seized six parcels containing more than 30 kilograms of fentanyl pills that had been shipped from Phoenix and were bound for distribution by the conspiracy in the Twin Cities.

On June 18, 2024, Chandler appeared in U.S. District Court before Judge Jeffrey M. Bryan and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later time.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the Dakota County Drug Task Force, the Washington County Drug Task Force, and the Ramsey County Violent Crime Enforcement Team.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Campbell Warner is prosecuting the case.


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