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Three teens accused of selling Monterey County students fentanyl make federal court appearances

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KION-TV)-- The Office of the United States Attorney said it filed federal criminal complaints charging three people with the distribution of fentanyl to high school students in Monterey County.

Benjamin Reily Bliss,18, of Carmel, Louis Alexander (Luka),19, of Monterey and Brandon William Carranza-Arthur,19, of Monterey, are being charged with crimes related to the distribution of fentanyl to high school students in Monterey County, allege the complaints.

The complaints say that an investigation into drugs being sold in high schools in the area has been underway since October of 2021. It was made more severe after the overdose death of a 15-year-old from Pacific Grove on March 5, 2022, said the complaints.

A second teen who overdosed was interviewed, and texts say that on March 20, Bliss transported the surviving juvenile. Bliss drove the surviving victim to San Francisco, where the juvenile bought a baggie with fentanyl that led to the non-fatal overdose, allege the complaints.

The complaints against Alexander say that he used Snapchat to advertise, offer and sell fentanyl-based fake oxycodone and Xanax pills to high school students. It is also believed one of the students he sold to suffered a non-fatal overdose in October of 2021.

That student's mother found the Snapchat messages while recovering in the hospital, and they mentioned drug sales between the student and a person named "lulu." The complaint further says that this same mother and another high school student said that "numerous students are addicted to 'percocets," and that "lulu" is the known supplier.

The complaint filed against Carranza says that law officials got text messages between him and juveniles that put him in the role of a dealer to high school students.

"Carranza provided information regarding how a student should take counterfeit prescription drugs," says the complaint. "The complaint describes numerous text messages in which a juvenile admits he was having intense cravings for drugs and Carranza negotiates the price and quantity of pills that could be supplied."

The complaint says that Bliss is charged with aiding and abetting the distribution of fentanyl. At the same time, Carranza and Alexander are charged with unlawfully using, or causing, the Internet to advertise or offer to sell or distribute a controlled substance.

Bliss faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and Alexander and Carranza face a full term of four years in prison, according to the complaint. 

According to the criminal complaint, any sentence can have an added fine of up to $250,000, restitution, and three years of supervised release.

Carranza and Alexander are scheduled to appear in court on May 11.

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Ricardo Tovar

Assignment/ Web Manager for KION News Channel 5/46 and Telemundo 23

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