LOS ANGELES – A Montebello man pleaded guilty today to federal narcotics charges, including that he provided a woman a fatal dose of fentanyl.
Edwin Oliva, 30, pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death and one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin. He has been in federal custody in this case since March 2019.
According to his plea agreement, during the early morning hours on February 28, 2019, Oliva gave the victim a line of drugs to snort, but he did not tell her that the substance was fentanyl. The victim ingested the drug, which resulted in a fatal overdose. Oliva admitted to knowingly distributing fentanyl to the victim.
Oliva did not call 911 or otherwise seek medical care for the victim until nearly six hours after texting a friend that the victim was not breathing.
In the nearly six hours between when Oliva learned that the victim was not breathing and when he ultimately called 911, he cleaned his apartment, removing the fentanyl and other evidence of drug trafficking. He placed these items in the trunk of his significant other’s car and then drove away from the apartment in attempt to hide it from law enforcement.
Later that day, Montebello Police officers executed a search warrant on the car and discovered 1.9 kilograms (4.2 pounds) of heroin, 21 grams of fentanyl, 1.4 kilograms (3.2 pounds) of marijuana, 0.4 grams of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, a loaded .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol, a blue flip phone he used to conduct drug transactions, and a notebook he used as a pay/owe ledger.
Oliva admitted that, while in custody in March 2019, he directed his significant other to destroy evidence in the case, and he also directed her to tell law enforcement that the blue flip phone was a play phone for their children.
United States District Judge André Birotte Jr. has scheduled a January 7, 2022 sentencing hearing, at which time Oliva will face a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The fentanyl distribution charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. The heroin possession charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.
The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Montebello Police Department investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorneys Maria Jhai and Kathrynne Seiden of the General Crimes Section are prosecuting this case.