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Press Release

Three Mexican Nationals Plead Guilty to Federal Drug Charge in Scheme to Distribute More Than 1 Million Fentanyl Pills

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

LOS ANGELES – Three Mexican men, who last year were arrested in El Monte with more than 1 million fentanyl pills, each pleaded guilty today to a federal narcotics charge.

At a hearing today before United States District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld Jr., the following three defendants – all from Sinaloa, Mexico – pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl:

  • Florencio Camacho Allan, 29;
  • Gerardo Gaxiola Patiño, 30; and
  • Alex Valdez Oroz, 26.

According to their plea agreements, from September 2022 to March 2023, the defendants conspired with each other and others to knowingly distribute fentanyl. Prior to March 7, 2023, a Mexico-based drug broker arranged a deal with a buyer to sell 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. 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 coordinated a meeting between Allan and the buyer to occur that day at a Denny’s restaurant in El Segundo to buy the sample fentanyl pills. Later that day, Allan, Patiño, and Oroz arrived in a white car at the Denny’s. While Oroz waited in the driver’s seat of the car, Allan and Patiño met the buyer and the buyer’s associate inside the restaurant, where they discussed the plan to sell approximately 1 million more fentanyl pills later that day, and the sale of another 1 million fentanyl pills the next day.

After the meeting, Allan, Patiño, the buyer and the associate went to the white car, where Patiño retrieved a black bag, containing approximately 10,082 fentanyl pills, weighing approximately 1.1 kilograms (2.5 pounds), out of the white car and handed it to the buyer in exchange for $7,500. The three defendants then drove away.

Later that day, Allan confirmed with one of the buyers that they had possession of the larger set of pills and – via a WhatsApp video call – showed one buyer the pills, which appeared to be in the car’s trunk. They agreed to do the 1-million fentanyl pill deal in a Holiday Inn parking lot.

At the Holiday Inn, law enforcement detained Allan and Oroz in the parking lot. Officers also found and detained Patiño, who was inside the Holiday Inn lobby bathroom.

Inside the white car, law enforcement found at least three duffle bags in the trunk and back seat, each containing bundles of fentanyl pills. In total, the defendants knowingly possessed with intent to distribute approximately 1,016,270 fentanyl pills, weighing approximately 109.3 kilograms (241 pounds).

Judge Blumenfeld scheduled an August 13 sentencing hearing, at which time each defendant will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The Drug Enforcement Administration investigated 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 Attorney K. Afia Bondero of the Major Frauds Section is prosecuting this case.


Ciaran McEvoy
Public Information Officer
(213) 894-4465

Updated April 2, 2024

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 24-072