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Press Release

Philadelphia Fentanyl Supplier Charged By Superseding Indictment With Attempted Murder After Attempting to Evade Law Enforcement, Firing at Officer

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

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Natanael Alberto Montas, 33, of Philadelphia, PA, was charged by Superseding Indictment with attempted murder and assault of a federal officer, and multiple firearms and narcotics offenses, all stemming from his leadership of a fentanyl trafficking organization operating primarily in the Kensington section of Phildelphia. Kirsis Francisca Caceres, 36, also of Philadelphia, PA, was also charged with narcotics offenses for her role in the organization.

According to the Superseding Indictment, Montas was the leader of a drug trafficking group (DTG) that obtained bulk quantities of fentanyl to package and re-distribute the drugs to street-level organizations. In this role, Montas allegedly oversaw the entire operation, which included maintaining stash houses in Philadelphia which were utilized to mix, cut, and package the narcotics for resale to street-level dealers. Caceres and others in the DTG followed the direction of Montas, utilizing stamps to market and identify their product with names like ‘Walgreens,’ ‘F150,’ ‘RedBull,’ ‘Polo,’ ‘Monster,’ and others. Further, Montas maintained firearms at his disposal to protect himself and his drug trafficking business.

After several weeks of surveillance by law enforcement, in March 2021, investigators approached a vehicle being driven by Montas in which they believed he was transporting illegal narcotics. In an effort to evade officers, Montas led police on a high-speed chase through the narrow streets of Philadelphia’s Mayfair neighborhood, driving around stopped vehicles until he could no longer navigate on the roads, and ultimately fled on foot through backyards and alleyways. When he was confronted by a federal task force officer in pursuit, Montas allegedly fired a shot at the officer, which fortunately missed. As the officer took cover, Montas fired three more shots before breaking into a private residence occupied by a woman and two children, where he was ultimately apprehended. Montas, Caceres and others in the DTG were eventually apprehended following this dramatic series of events.

“Fentanyl is one of the deadliest narcotics flooding the streets of our country; Montas and the operation he directed made sure there was a steady supply of it right here in Philadelphia,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “And his danger to the community did not end there: he directly threatened the lives of dozens of people when he fled from law enforcement, and is now charged with attempting to take the life of a federal officer. We will continue to work with our federal and local law enforcement partners to get dangerous criminals like this defendant off the streets.”

“Let this indictment serve as a crystal clear message that any acts of violence committed against a federal agent will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Thomas Hodnett, Special Agent in Charge of Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Philadelphia Field Division. “As if Montas and Caceres’ alleged distribution of illicit fentanyl wasn’t dangerous enough to the community, they allegedly stock-piled numerous firearms in furtherance of their drug-trafficking activities. Montas’ alleged shooting at a task force officer assigned to our office will not be without a severe consequence.” 

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration as part of Operation Relentless Pursuit, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jason Grenell and Erica Kivitz.

An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


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Updated August 10, 2022

Drug Trafficking