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Home / News / Crime / 3 caught with over a million fentanyl pills in El Monte plead guilty

3 caught with over a million fentanyl pills in El Monte plead guilty

by Staff
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Three men who were arrested in El Monte last year with more than 1 million fentanyl pills each pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal narcotics charge, prosecutors announced.

Florencio Camacho Allan, 29, Gerardo Gaxiola Patiño, 30, and 26-year-old Alex Valdez Oroz, all of Sinaloa, Mexico, pleaded guilty in federal court in Los Angeles to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Judge Stanley Blumenfeld Jr. scheduled an August 13 sentencing hearing. The defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

The drug trafficking occurred between September 2022 to March 2023, according to the defendants’ plea agreements. At an unspecified date prior to March 7, 2023, a “drug broker” in Mexico connected the defendants with a prospective buyer for a transaction involving approximately 2 million fentanyl pills. 

“The deal was to occur in the Los Angeles area and the buyer agreed to pay approximately 75 cents per pill,” prosecutors said. “As part of the deal, the buyer also agreed to first purchase a sample ‘box’ of approximately 10,000 fentanyl pills at the same price.”

On March 7, 2023, the drug broker set up a meeting for that day at a Denny’s restaurant in El Segundo so that Allan could sell the buyer the sample fentanyl pills, prosecutors said. Later that day, Allan, Patiño and Oroz arrived at the restaurant in a white Volkswagen Jetta. Oroz waited in the car while Allan and Patiño met the buyer and the buyer’s associate inside the restaurant, where they talked about the sale of approximately 1 million more fentanyl pills later that day and the sale of another million pills the following day.

When the meeting concluded, the four men went to the white Jetta and Patiño retrieved a black bag that contained “approximately 10,082 fentanyl pills, weighing approximately 1.1 kilograms (2.5 pounds),” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Patiño handed the bag to the buyer in exchange for $7,500, and the three defendants then drove away.

Later that day, Allan confirmed via a WhatsApp video call with one of the buyers that they had possession of the larger set of pills, and they agreed to do the 1-million fentanyl pill deal in a Holiday Inn parking lot at 9920 Valley Blvd. in El Monte.

When authorities learned the pills’ location, they did a traffic stop on the Jetta and found “at least three duffle bags in the trunk and back seat” containing a combined total of 1,016,270 fentanyl pills that weighed approximately 109.3 kilograms, or 241 pounds, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Authorities arrested Allan and Oroz in the parking lot and found Patiño inside the Holiday Inn lobby bathroom.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration led the investigation as part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, prosecutors said. The federal Homeland Security Investigations along with the Hawthorne, Fullerton and El Monte police departments and the California National Guard provided assistance.

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