El Paso, Texas, Man Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison for Fentanyl Trafficking
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – An El Paso, Texas, man, Raul Morales, 42, was sentenced on September 25, 2023, to 120 months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, for possessing over 29 kilograms of fentanyl and xylazine.
At the sentencing hearing in front of Senior United States District Judge Sue Myerscough, the government presented evidence that the Illinois State Police stopped Morales while he was traveling northbound on Interstate 55 in Sangamon County, Illinois. Morales was driving a pick-up truck and pulling a trailer holding two vehicles. Documents showed Morales started the trip in Texas and was heading to Joliet, Illinois. During the stop, Illinois State Police troopers located over 29 kilograms of a substance containing fentanyl and xylazine; it was packaged in 30 separate bundles, each of which was wrapped in black tape, and located in a suitcase in one of the vehicles being hauled on the trailer.
Morales was indicted in November 2022 and pleaded guilty in May 2023. He has been detained by the United States Marshals Service since November 2022.
The statutory penalties for possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl are not less than 10 years up to life imprisonment, up to a $10,000,000 fine, and up to a life term of supervised release.
The Illinois State Police and Drug Enforcement Administration investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Z. Weir represented the government in the prosecution.
The case against Morales is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.