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Former Bulgarian military doctor, jailed in Mexico, facing federal drug charge in Mass.

A man described in Mexican news reports as a former Bulgarian military doctor who’s been working as a notorious fentanyl “cook” in Mexico is charged in federal court in Boston with funneling potent opioids into Massachusetts, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday.

Federal prosecutors, in a brief motion filed in US District Court in Boston, requested the unsealing of the indictment against Anton Petrov Kulkin, who also goes by David Solmonov Ashkenazi, Emil Ivanov Asenov, and Toni.

The motion said Kulkin was “arrested on or about September 6, 2018 in Mexico by Mexican State Preventive Police on other charges, and . . . there is no further reason to keep the instant indictment secret.”

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In Massachusetts, Kulkin and codefendant Carlos Acero Padilla, a Mexican national who also goes by Charly, were indicted in August on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute carfentanil, legal filings show.

Carfentanil is described by the US National Library of Medicine as an “analogue of the popular synthetic opioid analgesic fentanyl” and “one of the most potent opioids known” with “a quantitative potency approximately 10,000 times that of morphine and 100 times that of fentanyl.”

Fentanyl has been blamed for an overdose epidemic that has claimed tens of thousands of lives across the United States in recent years.

No attorneys were listed in court records for Kulkin and Padilla. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Padilla is in custody.

The indictment alleges the pair, beginning no later than December 2017, “conspired with each other and with other persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury to knowingly and intentionally possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute” carfentanil in the “District of Massachusetts, the Central District of California, Mexicali, Mexico, and elsewhere.”

Court records did not specify the amount of carfentanil that allegedly flowed into Massachusetts.

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A story published earlier this month on the website of the Mexican news outlet Cronica described Kulkin as a retired military doctor originally from Bulgaria. Government authorities in Mexico considered him the best “cook” of fentanyl worldwide, according to an English translation of the Cronica report.

The article also said Kulkin has bank accounts in Russia, the Dominican Republic, and the United States.

No court dates in the Massachusetts matter have been scheduled for Kulkin or Padilla.


Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.