Sterling Heights police said they found this stash of drugs, which they say are disguised fentanyl pills, in Pontiac.

Sterling Heights police said they found this stash of drugs, which they say are disguised fentanyl pills, in Pontiac.

Photo provided by the Sterling Heights Police Department

Police announce role in seizing disguised fentanyl

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published March 22, 2023

 Miguel Angel Rosario-Nieves

Miguel Angel Rosario-Nieves


STERLING HEIGHTS — Sterling Heights police are celebrating their role in the arrest of a Pontiac man who they say is responsible for having a large stash of dangerous narcotics disguised as prescription pain pills, and also allegedly selling some of those pills.

Sterling Heights police said their narcotics team started investigating the case in early February, adding that the investigation took place both in Macomb and Oakland counties. The Sterling Heights Police Department called the suspect a “large-scale local drug dealer” and accused him of possessing 18,000 fentanyl pills that looked like oxycodone pills, including the imprinting of an “M30” marking on them.

Police said the Sterling Heights narcotics team conducted a “high-risk search warrant” in Pontiac, which reportedly led to the discovery of the pills. The pills were collectively worth around $450,000, at street value.

“These pills had the strength to kill a single person with just one dose,” Sterling Heights Police Lt. Mario Bastianelli said in a March 6 statement.

Police reportedly arrested Miguel Angel Rosario-Nieves, 31, from Pontiac. He was later arraigned at the 50th District Court in Pontiac on the charge of controlled substance, delivering/manufacturing narcotics/cocaine, 1,000 or more, according to the MiCOURT database. The database added that his bond was set at $500,000 cash or surety.

“Due to the outstanding and diligent work by our undercover officers, there is no doubt that thousands of lives were saved by this arrest and the recovery of these fake oxycodone pills,” Bastianelli added.

“The Sterling Heights Police Department prides itself on protecting our community and arresting people like Mr. Rosario-Nieves who choose to poison our society for monetary gain.”

Rosario-Nieves’ listed attorney, Paulette Michel Loftin, could not be reached for comment by press time.

During the March 7 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, Councilwoman Maria Schmidt congratulated the police and the undercover narcotics division for making “two significant drug arrests” in a few weeks’ time. One incident was the reported fentanyl discovery, and the other was the recent arrest of a Detroit firefighter accused of selling drugs. An undercover Sterling Heights police officer was reportedly involved in that investigation, too.

“That is a lot of lives saved, in my heart and in my book,” Schmidt said, referring to the 18,000 fentanyl pills. “I wish (the police) continued success because they make our community better and stay safe.”

Anyone who has more information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Sterling Heights Police Department by calling (586) 446-2800.