LOS ANGELES – Three Mexican men arrested in El Monte on Wednesday for allegedly possessing 1 million fentanyl pills have been charged in a criminal complaint with violating federal drug laws, the Justice Department announced today.
The complaint filed today charges the following defendants – each of whom is from Sinaloa, Mexico – with one count of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances:
- Florencio Camacho Allan, 28;
- Gerardo Gaixola-Patino, 29; and
- Alex Valdez Oroz, 25.
The defendants are expected to make their initial appearances this afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.
According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, the defendants met with two buyers at a restaurant in El Segundo on Tuesday to discuss a 10,000-fentanyl-pill sample sale which would be followed by a deal for 1 million fentanyl pills. During the meeting, Allan and Gaixola met with the buyers while Oroz remained in the car, a white Volkswagen Jetta, the affidavit states.
After the meeting, Allan and Gaixola went to the parking lot where they allegedly sold 10,000 fentanyl pills to the buyers for $7,500. The defendants then left the restaurant under the surveillance of law enforcement.
Later that day, Allan allegedly confirmed with one of the buyers that they were interested in doing the 1 million pill deal later that day and showed one buyer the pills, which appeared to be in the Jetta’s trunk, via a WhatsApp video call.
Upon receiving information about the pills’ location, law enforcement conducted a traffic stop on the Jetta, which was stationed in a lot at an El Monte hotel, searched the car, and allegedly found approximately 1 million fentanyl pills in the car’s body and trunk. Law enforcement then arrested the three defendants on Wednesday morning.
A complaint is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
If convicted, each defendant would face a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison.
The Drug Enforcement Administration is investigating this matter as part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program with Homeland Security Investigations, the Hawthorne Police Department, the Fullerton Police Department, the El Monte Police Department, and the California National Guard providing assistance.
Assistant United States Attorneys Lyndsi C. Allsop of the Violent and Organized Crime Section and K. Afia Bondero of the General Crimes Section are prosecuting this case.