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Press Release

California Man Sentenced to 7 Years in Federal Prison for Fentanyl Trafficking Offenses

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

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that OMAR VILLARREAL, 27, of La Puente, California, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to 84 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for fentanyl trafficking offenses.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on December 21, 2016, law enforcement officers stopped a tractor-trailer on Route 34 in Derby.  A search of the cab of the tractor-trailer revealed a box that contained 25 kilograms of fentanyl.  The driver of the vehicle, Erick Crespo-Escalante, was placed under arrest.  Investigators learned that Crespo-Escalante was delivering the shipment of fentanyl to a location in Waterbury.

The investigation revealed that, in October 2016, Villarreal traveled from California to Connecticut to oversee the shipment of the narcotics to Connecticut.  Villarreal took up residence in Waterbury for approximately one month to coordinate the delivery and established a “stash” location in Waterbury to which the shipment could be delivered.  After returning to California, Villarreal engaged in multiple phone calls with Crespo-Escalante to arrange the delivery via tractor-trailer to Connecticut.

Villarreal has been detained since his arrest on May 15, 2017.  On August 30, 2018, he pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting the possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute, and one count of traveling in interstate commerce to promote an unlawful activity.

On April 4, 2017, Crespo-Escalante pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, fentanyl.  On April 3, 2019, he was sentenced to 30 months of imprisonment.  Crespo-Escalante, a citizen of Mexico and lawful permanent resident of the U.S., faces immigration proceedings when he is released from prison.

This matter was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Haven Task Force, which includes participants from the U.S. Marshals Service, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, and the New Haven, Hamden, West Haven, North Haven, Branford, Ansonia, Meriden, Derby, Middletown, Naugatuck and Waterbury Police Departments.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dave Vatti.

Updated May 17, 2019

Drug Trafficking