East Bay Men Charged With Selling Counterfeit Pills Laced With Fentanyl
SAN FRANCISCO – Jose Ricardo Loza and Randy Lee Walker were charged in a criminal complaint with distributing fentanyl and heroin, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Postal Inspector in Charge Rafael E. Nuñez, United States Postal Inspection Service.
An affidavit filed in the case by an agent of the United States Postal Inspection Service alleges that Loza sold blue counterfeit oxycodone pills that were laced with Fentanyl. According to the affidavit, Loza sold to a third party 50 Fentanyl-laced pills on August 22, 2019, when at the auto body shop where he works in Pittsburg, Calif. Loza allegedly did not initially have enough pills to sell, so he texted Walker, who arrived with more Fentanyl-laced pills. The affidavit alleges that during the transaction, Loza warned the customer to be careful when taking these pills because he (Loza) gave the same pills to a mutual friend who overdosed and died. According to the affidavit, a laboratory test verified that a sample of the pills Loza sold contained fentanyl.
In addition, the affidavit alleges that on November 22, 2019, Loza sold 500 more counterfeit pills to an undercover officer and then told the officer that he had 10,000 more of the same pills for sale. Further, the affidavit alleges Loza sold two ounces of heroin on September 10, 2019.
Loza and Walker are charged with distribution of controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C).
Loza and Walker were arrested on December 12, 2019. At the time of Loza’s arrest, law enforcement agents found more than 2,000 counterfeit oxycodone pills hidden in hallowed out compartments of his furniture.
Defendants Loza and Walker made their initial appearances this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixson. Both defendants currently are in custody. Walker’s next court appearance is scheduled for Monday, December 16, 2019, for appointment of counsel. Loza’s next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday, December 18, 2019, for a hearing to address detention issues.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of up to 20 years in prison. A term of supervised release, fines, forfeitures, and restitution also may be ordered, however, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
The complaint contains allegations only and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ross Weingarten is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Linda Love. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service.