Agents seize 1,256 Ectasy pills, arrest Ocala man
“We were not surprised that the MDMA was coming out of Holland and Germany, but we were surprised about the quantity,” said Capt. Eric Rawls.
By Austin MillerStaff writer
OCALA – Drug agents arrested a 31-year-old Ocala man on Wednesday and charged him with trafficking in a substantial amount of Ecstasy pills.
In an investigation dubbed Operation X-Games, local agents from the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team arrested Brandon Paul McConnell for allegedly picking up two packages that contained 1,256 MDMA — or Ecstasy — pills.
On Sept. 13, according to UDEST, officials intercepted a package from the Netherlands that contained 1,000 Ecstasy pills addressed to a business in Jasmine Plaza in southwest Ocala. They would not name the business, or say what type of business it was.
The next day, agents did a controlled delivery of the package and waited for someone to pick it up from the business. Around 5:30 p.m., a man, later identified as McConnell, arrived at the business — not named by officials — on a motorcycle, according to the report.
McConnell picked up the package, investigators reported, and when he tried to leave, he was stopped by drug agents for questioning.
Before McConnell arrived at the business, a second package from Germany arrived. Officials obtained a search warrant for the package; however, they were unable to open it before they say McConnell arrived to pick it up.
When McConnell was arrested, they opened the second package and it contained 256 Ecstasy pills.
Authorities estimate the street value for both packages at $25,120.
“We were not surprised that the MDMA was coming out of Holland and Germany, but we were surprised about the quantity,” said Capt. Eric Rawls, who is in charge of UDEST.
Rawls said Germany and Holland are known sources of supply for MDMA. He added that he has not seen this much MDMA since its heyday more than two decades ago.
A schedule-one drug in the United States, Ecstasy in pill form became popular in the 1990s through raves and club scenes because of its psychoactive properties that result in heightened sensations of euphoria and empathy.
Side effects of the drug include paranoia, sweating, rapid heartbeat and death.
Rawls said they are investigating what the plan was for the pills delivered to the local business. He said the reason for the name X-Games is because MDMA is known on the street as X.
McConnell was charged with trafficking in MDMA and driving with a suspended license. He declined an interview request from the Star-Banner. McConnell does not have a criminal record locally.