Advocates for the homeless said there is still a problem with outside dealers.(Arizona's Family)
By Briana Whitney
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 7:46 PM MST|Updated: 18 minutes agoPHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Supplying fentanyl to one of the most vulnerable groups in our community. It’s what Phoenix Police said is happening with the homeless population downtown. Dealers from the outside are selling drugs at a discounted rate to those most desperate. Now, there’s been a major arrest of a dealer this week, but is it enough?
Cristian Machado, who officials said goes by “Ghost,” is accused of contributing to the problem. Machado was arrested for providing and selling drugs at a discounted rate to the homeless, a population he is not a part of, police said. According to court paperwork, he would “hide his car, walk into the shelter, front large amounts of fentanyl and methamphetamine at a low price to a few people, then return later and continue the cycle.”
According to court documents, beginning in May, several detectives went undercover to find drug dealers believed to be selling meth and fentanyl to homeless people. Court paperwork says investigators were able to buy the drugs from homeless people around a nearby shelter. After talking to some of the people, police discovered a person nicknamed “Ghost,” later identified as Machado, was selling the drugs. Court paperwork says police found out Machado would hide in his car, walk into the shelter, sell the drugs for a cheap price, then come back later to pick up the money.
On May 5, a detective met up with Machado and got his phone number. Four days later, officers followed Machado to his home in Phoenix and saw him get into another car and sell the driver fentanyl. Machado then got out, and the driver drove away but was pulled over by officers. According to court documents, the driver admitted Machado sold him the fentanyl.
On May 17, the detective who got Machado’s number called Machado and ordered two ounces of meth. The two met up in a parking lot in Phoenix, and Machado sold the meth for $300. Eight days later, the detective called Machado again and ordered two more ounces of meth, which Machado delivered and sold for $280. Finally, on June 9, Machado sold the investigator two more ounces of meth and some fentanyl.
A search warrant of his multiple homes found around 13,000 pills. Phoenix police said this leads to more crime. “I think there’s a correlation between violent crime and drug use,” said Phoenix Police Sgt. Vincent Cole. “This is our second arrest since May where somebody was specifically selling to those experiencing homelessness.”
That man, Brian Duncan, the first arrest by Phoenix police in their targeted investigation on this, calling him “a major contributor to the illicit fentanyl outbreak at the homeless shelter.” Dr. Pexton said, unfortunately, there’s a reason why these dealers try to sell the homeless both meth and fentanyl. “The benefit from a dealer’s standpoint is it makes them addicted to two drugs, and the need to buy and use all that more,” said Dr. Pexton.