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MBI details probe into fentanyl trafficking operation run out of Orange County jail

This image from a press conference on Operation Icarus shows fake oxycode pills that contain fentanyl. Photo: OCSO via Facebook

The Ninth Circuit’s Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday detailed a monthslong probe into a fentanyl trafficking operation run by an inmate out of the Orange County jail.

Three of the 16 suspects remain at large, but most were arrested by the end of last year as part of a multi-agency investigation.

MBI Director Ron Stucker said Operation Icarus started last April when corrections officials came to MBI to investigate inmate Steven Albers, now 28 years old, who was suspected of smuggling an opioid into the jail.

MBI found something much worse.

“[H]e was running a major drug trafficking organization that was trafficking in pressed fentanyl bills that were disguised as oxycodone,” Stucker said.

Investigators seized 11,000 pills. They believe Albers, who has pleaded not guilty to several trafficking and conspiracy charges, ran the operation through his girlfriend and that she bought fentanyl from a dealer in Arizona.

Stuckers says people addicted to painkillers think they’re buying oxycodone on the street but end up with a drug a hundred times more potent, risking overdose and death.

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes reports on aging-related issues for WMFE/WMFV. Please contact him at jbyrnes@wmfe.org. He came to WMFE from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after ... Read Full Bio »