Feds: Former synchronized swimmer at center of fentanyl drug ring in Walnut Creek

A Walnut Creek home nestled in a cul-de-sac in the hills near the Interstate 680-Highway 24 interchange might seem an unlikely place for a federal fentanyl investigation.

But authorities say it's the home of 29-year-old Ainslee Smith, a former synchronized swimmer with a criminal record.

The Drug Enforcement Administration says Smith was part of a conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, a highly addictive, synthetic opioid.

A man who lives in the neighborhood told KTVU off-camera that he's seen suspicious activity at the home at all hours of the day and night

"There's a lot of activity in that area, different kind of expensive cars, different kind of activity there," he said.

According to court records, Smith told investigators that drug users regularly overdosed on fentanyl and heroin at her home.

She also told authorities that she revived 23 people there using Narcan, a nasal spray that reverses overdoses.

Neighbors say they saw plenty of police activity and ambulances showing up at the home.

"Police car, 911, rapid response, all different kind of police presence," one resident said.

The investigation began back in August, when Contra Costa County sheriff's deputies arrested Smith at her home on outstanding warrants.

At the County Jail in Martinez, a deputy reported finding more than 4 grams of fentanyl in her bra. Authorities said even small amounts of fentanyl is considered "distribution quantities" and that a gram of fentayl is worth about $300.

Smith bailed out of jail, and within days a man was found at her home suffering from an overdose, investigators said in court records.

Then, in September, San Ramon police say they spotted Smith making a drug deal in a Danville shopping center parking lot.

The next day, Walnut creek police pulled Smith over for speeding. Officers say they found fentanyl in her purse and a thousand dollars in cash.

In an interview with police, investigators say she admitted to being a fentanyl user but denied that she sold it. Police said she turned over more fentanyl from her bra.

Smith, along with three men, Britt Dunn, Tyler Soohoo and Michael Swenk, have each pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Oakland to charges of conspiracy and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl.