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Press Release

Three Men Sentenced for Trafficking Kilogram Quantities of Fentanyl

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

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Three men have been sentenced, in the United States District Court in Lexington, for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, an extremely powerful, Schedule II controlled substance.  The total amount of fentanyl seized during the investigation was in excess of three kilograms.  On Friday, United States District Judge Danny C. Reeves sentenced Miguel Esparza, 30, of Lexington, to 157 months in prison.  Judge Reeves previously sentenced co-Defendant Gadiel Ortiz-Flores, 39, of Lawrenceburg, to 136 months in prison and co-Defendant Brian Walker Hensley, 38, also of Lawrenceburg, was previously sentenced to 78 months in prison.

The joint investigation, by federal and state law enforcement, into the drug trafficking activities of the defendants culminated with the execution of search warrants on their residences and their arrests, on December 5, 2017.  During the early stages of the investigation, agents purchased more than 300 grams of fentanyl from the defendants.  During their arrests, Ortiz-Flores and Hensley were found in possession of one kilogram of fentanyl that was intended for distribution.  At Esparza’s residence, in Fayette County, law enforcement officers seized nearly two kilograms of fentanyl that was intended for distribution.  Fentanyl is extremely potent and can be lethal in the two-milligram range.  Additional evidence found at the Esparza residence indicated that Esparza processed the drug in his residence, including dozens of latex gloves, masks, an air filtration system, and nearly one kilogram of non-controlled substances used to dilute the potent fentanyl.

 “The defendants in this case were dealing in massive quantities of dangerous drugs,” said Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky.  “The number of overdose deaths in our community continues to rise, and the quantities of illegal drugs involved in this criminal conspiracy were placing many lives in danger.  Without the outstanding work of our law enforcements partners, this prosecution would not have been possible.  Their efforts removed these drugs from our streets, made our community safer, and saved lives.  Prosecuting those who deal in this scourge to our community will continue to be a core priority of our Office.” 

United States Attorney Duncan; Darrell Christopher Evans, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Louisville; Stuart Lowrey, Special Agent in Charge ATF Louisville; Richard Sanders, Commissioner of the Kentucky State Police; Lawrence Weathers, Chief of Police, Lexington-Fayette County Division of Police; and  Joe Milam, Sheriff, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, jointly made the announcement.

The investigation was a cooperative effort led by investigators with the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Kentucky State Police; the Lexington Police Department and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.

Updated July 31, 2018

Drug Trafficking