Federal Jury Finds Ocala Man Guilty Of Conspiracy To Traffic Over Two Kilograms Of Methamphetamine And Trafficking One Kilogram Of Fentanyl
Ocala, Florida – A federal jury has found Tirso Hernandez-Astudillo (35, Ocala) guilty of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, and possession with the intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl. He faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 10 years, up to life imprisonment, on each count. Hernandez-Astudillo, a citizen of Mexico in the United States illegally, also faces potential deportation. He remains in federal custody pending a sentencing hearing on May 17, 2018.
According to court documents, on May 24, 2017, in a parking lot in Ocala, co-defendant Simon Rodriguez-Flores (48, Ocala) sold a cooperating witness approximately 4 ounces of crystal methamphetamine. On June 2, 2017, at the same location, Rodriguez-Flores delivered 2 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine to the same cooperating witness, but was arrested by agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration. The agents detained Hernandez-Astudillo, a passenger in Rodriguez-Flores’s car.
Immediately after the arrest, a search warrant was executed at the residence Hernandez-Astudillo shared with his cousin and co-defendant, Gilberto Astudillo-Carbajal (34, Ocala). Agents recovered items used in the manufacture and packaging of crystal methamphetamine from the home. From another trailer across the street, where Hernandez-Astudillo had been earlier in the day, agents recovered a suspicious package containing approximately one kilogram of an undetermined powdery substance. Subsequent analysis of the substance revealed that it contained fentanyl.
Rodriguez-Flores and Astudillo-Carbajal have previously pleaded guilty and remain in custody pending sentencing.
This case was investigated by the Gainesville Resident Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, assisted by task force officers from the Gainesville Police Department, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, the Ocala Police Department, the Levy County Sheriff’s Office, and the Union County Sheriff’s Office. The Marion County Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team assisted in the execution of the search warrant and the arrests. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dale R. Campion.