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Press Release

Oakland Resident Pleads Guilty To Possessing Fentanyl For Distribution In San Francisco’s Tenderloin

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California
Defendant Also Admits Carrying Loaded 9 Millimeter Pistol In His Backpack

SAN FRANCISCO – Mainor Escoto Escoto pleaded guilty yesterday afternoon in federal court to possessing fentanyl with the intent to distribute it, announced United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Special Agent in Charge Bob P. Beris.

According to his plea agreement, Escoto, 20, last known to reside in Oakland, was stopped and arrested on February 16, 2022, by San Francisco police near the corner of Larkin and Eddy Streets in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. At the time he was arrested, Escoto was wearing a hooded sweatshirt with a front pocket and carrying a backpack. Escoto admitted in his plea agreement that in his sweatshirt he possessed a baggie of heroin, a pill bottle with base cocaine inside, and four baggies of fentanyl. He also carried a digital scale and cash. 

Escoto further admitted that in his backpack he carried a loaded 9 millimeter pistol and 28 additional baggies of fentanyl. Escoto agreed the fentanyl weighed more than 160 grams (.35 pounds) but less than 280 grams (.6 pounds). 

Escoto pleaded guilty to one count of possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C). The maximum statutory penalty for the charge is 20 years imprisonment with a minimum of three years of supervision following release from prison. However, any sentence following a conviction would be imposed by a 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.

United States District Judge Vince Chhabria set a sentencing hearing for Escoto on January 23, 2023. Escoto remains in custody while awaiting his sentencing hearing. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christa Hall is prosecuting the case, with the assistance of Veronica Hernandez. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by DEA and the San Francisco Police Department.

One Pill Can Kill: Beware of pills bought on the street: One Pill Can Kill. Fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled substance, is a highly potent opiate that can be diluted with cutting agents to create counterfeit pills that purport to mimic the effects of Oxycodone, Percocet, and other drugs, but can be obtained at a lower cost. However, very small variations in the amount or quality of fentanyl creates huge effects on the potency of the counterfeit pills and can easily cause death. Fentanyl has now become the leading cause of drug overdose deaths in the United States. Counterfeit, fentanyl-laced pills are usually shaped and colored to resemble pills that are sold legitimately at pharmacies. For example, counterfeit pills known as M30s mimic Oxycodone, but when sold on the street they routinely contain fentanyl. These tablets are round and often light blue in color, though they may be made in many colors, and have “M” and “30” imprinted on opposite sides of the pill.

Updated October 4, 2022