Two Clay County men were arrested Sunday for trafficking 2,000 grams of fentanyl, according to an arrest report. They are being held in the Clay County jail on bonds of $17 million and $10 million.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office received information involving a multi-kilogram drug trafficking organization using the U.S. Postal Service packaging services, the arrest report said. The information alleged that two males identified as Jason Setzer, 46, and Alvin Mercado Jr ,38, were using the postal service to receive kilogram-level quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine and fentanyl.
With information from the post office, deputies identified three known addresses that Setzer and Mercado used — 576 William Paca St., Orange Park, 741 Eagle Cove Drive, Fleming Island and 1604 River Breeze Drive, Fleming Island, the arrest report said.
On Aug. 5, detectives observed Mercado exit the William Paca Street residence and place a white priority mail postal box into the trunk of the white Acura he was driving. Detectives followed Mercado to the Fleming Island Post Office where he took the parcel from his trunk, walked into the post office and returned empty-handed, the arrest report said.
At approximately 3:36 p.m. that same day, a postal inspector reviewed the parcels being processed at the facility. The inspector showed Mercado’s package to the detective on the case who confirmed it was the same parcel they saw him carry into the post office earlier, they said.
The listed sender on the package was “Calvin Marco,” and the return address was listed as “1640 River Breeze Drive, Fleming Island, FL,” the arrest report said. A query of the USPS records revealed the return address does not exist and detectives found no person by the name of Calvin Marco, the report said.
The postal inspector observed the package to have several characteristics that fit the profile of known mailings containing illegal proceeds and controlled substances. These characteristics include the incorrect return address, false name, the package being paid for in cash and other evidence that helps hide the identity of the sender, the arrest report said.
On Aug. 8, a Clay County deputy and his narcotics detection canine, Ory, conducted an exterior examination of the package Mercado shipped out of Fleming Island Post Office. The parcel was placed among five other control, or non-drug-affiliated, parcels. Ory alerted on Mercado’s parcel but none of the others, the arrest report said.
On Aug. 12, a federal search warrant for the parcel was obtained and inside the package detectives found a blue cloth lunchbox with two brick-shaped objects vacuum sealed and wrapped in black and yellow duct tape, the arrest report said.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office print lab contacted Clay County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 8 to notify them that the package came back positive for containing Mercado’s fingerprints, the arrest report said.
On Sept. 10, Clay County deputies made contact with Jason Setzer as he was leaving in a vehicle from the William Paca Street address. Contact with Mercado was made the same day at the River Breeze Drive address.
Both Mercado and Setzer made statements that were redacted from the arrest report. They claim they understand their Miranda Rights and both men wished to speak with law enforcement.
A search warrant of the William Street residence was obtained. It is believed the men were trafficking in fentanyl of multiple kilograms from California via the U.S. Postal Service, a level 1 felony.
The address in California is under investigation and the recipient of the parcels is currently unknown, the arrest report said. Between September 2021 and July 2022, an additional five parcels were mailed from Jacksonville to the California address by the Clay County men, the report said.
Both Mercado and Setzer were transported to Clay County Jail. Mercado’s bond is set at $10,000,000 and Setzer’s is set at $17,105,006.