2 Fentanyl Dealers arrested in PANT investigation: Dealers Beware, You never know who is watching

[From left to right, John Gonzales and Michael Smargiassi]

On July 28, 2020, around 5:15 PM, detectives from the Partner’s Against Narcotics Trafficking Task Force (PANT) observed 30-year-old John Gonzales in the Cottonwood area and saw him eventually stop in the parking lot of the Cottonwood Walmart. Detectives know John for his involvement in the use and sale of fentanyl. He is usually associated with a dark brown GMC 2500 truck. John exited his truck and quickly jumped into a gold Mercury passenger car that had pulled up next to his truck. Based on this observation and other behaviors, it appeared John was involved in a drug transaction. John was out on release pending a current drug sales court case.

The gold car left the Walmart parking and eventually stopped in a church parking lot off Highway 260, parking in a secluded area. Assisted by YCSO deputies, John and the driver, 34-year-old Michael Smargiassi from Rimrock, were contacted. As deputies approached, both John and Michael appeared to shove items between the seats. Deputies also noticed a piece of tin foil with apparent burnt opioid residue on the driver’s side floorboard. As result, the pair was detained and the vehicle was searched for further evidence of contraband.

In the search, detectives found a clear plastic baggie containing 60 blue fentanyl pills marked M30 by the driver’s seat. Also located was a glass meth pipe and a hollowed out grey pen with apparent fentanyl residue.

As the search continued, detectives found an additional 91 fentanyl pills in 1 baggie, another 27 fentanyl pills in another baggie, 1 gram of meth and another glass pipe with meth residue. Lastly, a baggie containing various and mostly opioid based narcotic pills was seized.

178 fentanyl pills were confiscated during the investigation with an average street value well over $4000. John was found with $600 in cash in his pocket likely connected to illicit drug activity.

John admitted to detectives he planned on purchasing $600 worth of fentanyl pills from Michael. Detectives were permitted to view text messages on John’s phone confirming the arrangement with Michael to purchase fentanyl.  Michael eventually admitted to the sale also.

John Gonzales was charged with Conspiracy to sell narcotic drugs, Possession of narcotic drugs (fentanyl), and Possession of drug paraphernalia (fentanyl related). He is held without bond.

Michael Smargiassi was charged with Possession of Narcotic drugs for sale (Fentanyl), Possession of narcotic drugs (fentanyl), Possession of dangerous drugs, and 2 counts of Possession of drug paraphernalia (fentanyl, and Methamphetamine related). Michael was released on a $10,000 bond.