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Blue pills and a pink ledger land local man in jail

 
January 31, 2022

Miguel Angel Vazquez-Estrada
A pink ledger found at his girlfriend's house January 11 helped land a 26-year-old Bonners Ferry man in jail facing life in prison on felony drug charges. Miguel Angel Vazquez-Estrada is being held on $100,000 bond on an enhanced felony charge of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and a misdemeanor count of possession of paraphernalia.

In the wake of finding the ledger, which contained a handwritten list of accounts suspected to belong to Vazquez-Estrada, Bonners Ferry Police Officer Brandon Johnson contacted assistant police chief Marty Ryan and state probation officer Ronald Pell and the three paid a visit to Vazquez-Estrada's Buchanan Street home in Bonners Ferry at about 11:33 a.m. Wednesday, January 12.

According to court documents, Vazquez-Estrada's father, who also lives at the home, let them in and led Johnson and Pell to his son's room.

As the two entered they saw Vazquez-Estrada hide something in a pile of clothes, then quickly stand and pick up a plate of food from his bed, asking them to the living room.

As Vazquez-Estrada and Pell left to join Ryan in  the living room, Johnson picked up the pair of pants atop the pile of clothes, shook them and collected the baggie of 22 fentanyl pills that fell out, as well as a piece of tinfoil with another half-melted "Mexi pill" stuck to it.

Johnson then joined Pell and Ryan in the parlor and placed Vazquez-Estrada under arrest.

A further search turned up a plastic "tooter" under Vazquez-Estrada's bed, another one in the plate of food he'd carried into the living room, random shotgun shells and seven boxes of .223 ammunition, all in violation of terms of his parole.

After he was booked into jail, Vazquez-Estrada waived his Miranda rights and agreed to talk, telling Johnson of his addiction to the green Mexi pills and that he'd been smoking the pill on the tinfoil as the officers entered the room.

He explained that he bought the fentanyl about 25 pills at a time in Coeur d'Alene and Spokane for $10 each, smoking one himself about every other day, giving them to his girlfriend "because she was addicted and he didn't want her to be dope sick" and selling the rest to friends at cost "to help them out."

Asked about the ledger, Vazquez-Estrada admitted it was his and said it listed who bought his pills, how much they paid and who still owed money.

Pharmaceutical fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent, normally prescribed to treat patients with severe pain, especially after surgery. As little as two milligrams, equivalent to a few grains of salt, is lethal.

The pills bought on the street are most often counterfeit and 26-percent, two of every five tablets tested in the DEA laboratory, contain a lethal dose of fentanyl. In 2020, overdose of synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, killed 56,516 Americans.

Conviction on the felony possession charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and/or a fine not to exceed $25,000.

Citing two prior felony convictions for possession of a controlled substance, one in Teton County, Idaho, in 2015, and one in Hall County, Nebraska, December 7, 2021, Boundary County Prosecuting Attorney Andrakay Pluid is seeking an enhanced persistent violator penalty, with would guarantee a minimum sentence of five years upon conviction up to life in prison.

A preliminary hearing before Judge Justin Julian has been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Friday, February 4.

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9B.News
Mike Weland, Publisher
mike@9b.news  

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

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