Tacoma – Two South King County men and a former U.S. Navy sailor have been indicted for conspiracy and various drug distribution and firearms charges in connection with their trafficking in counterfeit pills laced with deadly fentanyl, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. CHASE FRIEDRICH, 28, was arrested April 21, 2020, at his Des Moines, Washington, apartment. His drug supplier, RAOUL V. NORMANDIA, JR., 28, was arrested April 24, 2020, near his Federal Way, Washington, residence. IVAN ARMENTA, 20, was separated from the Navy and taken into federal custody August 7, 2020. FRIEDRICH sold counterfeit Percocet pills to Navy Sailor ARMENTA, who then provided them to another sailor who died of a drug overdose. The pills were tainted with deadly fentanyl.
The investigation began April 18, 2020, when a Navy sailor was found dead in his workspace aboard a Navy ship. In his pocket were two counterfeit pills that were laced with fentanyl. The Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS) were able to identify ARMENTA as the sailor who provided the pills to the victim and identified FRIEDRICH as his supplier. A search of FRIEDRICH’s apartment revealed cocaine, a handgun, and a bag of approximately 100 counterfeit pills.
Investigators were able to trace the pills to NORMANDIA. He was arrested a few blocks from his home. In the vehicle was cocaine. During a court‑authorized search of NORMANDIA’s residence, law enforcement recovered cocaine, MDMA, firearms, ammunition, body armor, narcotics, and various signs of the drug trade, including scales, baggies, heat sealers, Moneygram receipts, and twenty cell phones.
NORMANDIA and FRIEDRICH are charged with conspiracy. FRIEDRICH and ARMENTA are each charged with distribution of fentanyl. FRIEDRICH is also charged with possession of cocaine and fentanyl with intent to distribute, and with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Finally, NORMANDIA is charged with possession of MDMA and cocaine with intent to distribute and with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
All three defendants face a statutory maximum term of up to twenty years in prison. The possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime calls for an additional consecutive prison term of five years.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by NCIS and the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office as a part of the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team (WestNET) and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lyndsie Schmalz.