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Press Release

Final Member of Drug Trafficking Conspiracy Pleads Guilty to Fentanyl and Methamphetamine Trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Arizona

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Carlos Alberto Castro-Ruiz, 26, of Phoenix, Arizona, pleaded guilty yesterday to Conspiracy to Distribute Fentanyl and Methamphetamine before United States District Judge Steven P. Logan. A sentencing hearing is set for July 18, 2023.

Castro-Ruiz’s co-conspirators also pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute Fentanyl and Methamphetamine. On April 13, 2023, Alexander Ortega-Islas, 22, of Phoenix, Arizona, pleaded guilty before Judge Logan. Keivin Crosswell-Cervantes, 27, of Mexico, pleaded guilty on May 2, 2023, before Judge Logan. Sentencing hearings are scheduled for July 10 and July 17, 2023, respectively.

The three co-conspirators all admitted that they delivered approximately 400,000 blue fentanyl pills, approximately 20,000 multi-colored fentanyl pills (“skittles”), and approximately 25 pounds of methamphetamine to undercover officers on September 22, 2022. Law enforcement officers also seized an AK-47-style pistol, a .45 caliber Kimber 1911 semi-automatic pistol with two magazines, and a .45 caliber FN semi-automatic pistol.

A conviction for Conspiracy to Distribute Fentanyl and Methamphetamine carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, a fine up to $10,000,000, or both.

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

Homeland Security Investigations, Nogales, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, Nogales conducted the investigation in this case. Assistant United States Attorney Matthew G. Eltringham, District of Arizona, Tucson, is handling the prosecution.

CASE NUMBER:           CR 22-01295-PHX-SPL
RELEASE NUMBER:    2023-068_Castro-Ruiz, et al.

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Public Affairs
Diana L. Varela
(602) 514-7743

Updated May 9, 2023

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 2023-068_Castro-Ruiz