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Man charged in one of the largest seizures of fentanyl pills in state history

Chief Booker Hodges said it was enough pills to kill one-fifth of the Minnesota's population.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn — Bloomington Police Chief Booker Hodges said his officers arrested a man who had over 108,000 fentanyl pills in his possession, marking the largest fentanyl seizure in the city and one of the largest in state history.

Marcus Trice is charged with selling more than 50 grams of fentanyl as well as financial transaction card fraud. Trice was also federally indicted on Sept. 20 for possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute.

Trice was arrested Aug. 31 after officers were called to a hotel on the 5600 block of 78th Street West for a report of suspected fraud. Officers say they discovered a man used another person's identity to reserve a hotel. According to the criminal complaint, that man left the hotel and got in the passenger seat of a BMW after receiving a room key. 

The complaint goes on to say that a white van pulled up to the hotel and Trice allegedly got out of the vehicle with a plastic bag and a suitcase. The complaint says the driver of the other vehicle then approached Trice, who "handed him something." Trice then entered the hotel using a fake name, according to court documents.

The person whose name Trice allegedly used called hotel staff saying his account had been hacked. Officers spoke with Trice, who said he was in town for a funeral but didn't know who the funeral was for, the complaint says.

Trice was arrested on suspected financial transaction card fraud, and while searching the suspect's belongings officers reportedly found 11 pill bottles inside his suitcase. Officers say the pills were "M-Box 30" pills, which tested positive for fentanyl. Police say the total weight of the fentanyl was over 24 pounds.

"This is enough fentanyl to kill a fifth of the entire state's population," said Hodges during a press conference Wednesday. "This is enough pills to give every person in the city of Bloomington one (pill), everybody staying in the hotels, and still some left over for the people living in Richfield and Edina."

According to Hodges, there have been 12 overdose deaths this year in Bloomington, the most deaths ever in the city's history.

"All of these deaths are people," said Hodges. "As of Sept. 28, there were 199 fatal overdose deaths in Hennepin County."

A record number of Minnesotans died from overdose last year, according to a report by the Minnesota Department of Health, including a 49% increase in synthetic opioids, which includes fentanyl and fentanyl analogues. Health officials noted in the report that for every overdose death in the state last year there were 10 non-fatal drug overdoses. Booker said there were already 12 fatal overdoses in Bloomington, which is a record. He said there were six fatal overdoses in 2021 and eight in 2020.

Nationally, overdoses involving fentanyl and other synthetic opioids surpassed 71,000 in 2021, up 23% from the year before, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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