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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Man found carrying estimated 20,000 fentanyl pills in north Spokane pleads not guilty to federal charge

Feb. 2, 2022 Updated Sun., Feb. 13, 2022 at 3:48 p.m.

The Thomas S. Foley United States Courthouse in Spokane.  (JESSE TINSLEY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
The Thomas S. Foley United States Courthouse in Spokane. (JESSE TINSLEY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

A man arrested outside a home off North Monroe Street last week carrying what police estimated to be more than 20,000 pills of illicit opioids has been indicted on federal charges.

Yancarlos Arredondo-Mendoza pleaded not guilty to the indictment Wednesday afternoon through an interpreter. Arredondo-Mendoza faces a charge of possessing with intent to sell more than 400 grams of fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid that has been linked to several local overdose deaths, including that of a 17-month-old child in December. Its widespread availability has been labeled a public health crisis by law enforcement and prompted an alert by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2020.

Spokane Police traced pills laced with fentanyl to a home in the 1100 block of West Maxwell Avenue. They were preparing to serve a federal search warrant on the property just before 8 p.m. Thursday when Arredondo-Mendoza left the residence with “an athletic-type bag,” according to a complaint filed by SPD Detective Jeffrey Barrington. Police detained Arredondo-Mendoza, who submitted to a search and questioning through a Spanish interpreter, according to court records. Inside, Barrington found “approximately 20,000 suspected fentanyl-laced pills (official count has not yet been completed), several large pieces of suspected heroin, a large brick of suspected heroin, and a loaded Glock 9mm pistol,” according to the complaint.

Arredondo-Mendoza was booked into Spokane County Jail, where he remains due to a Border Patrol hold, according to jail records.

The criminal charge he’s facing carries a mandatory 10-year prison sentence, a fine of up to $10 million and potential deportation. A future court date has not been set.

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