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Press Release

Tenderloin Dealer Pleads Guilty To Six Drug Offenses, Including Conspiracy To Distribute Fentanyl And Possession With Intent To Distribute Fentanyl, Heroin, Cocaine, And Methamphetamine

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California
Defendant Admits He Sold Drugs in the Tenderloin, Was Arrested Outside Berkeley Stash House with Nearly 15 Pounds of Fentanyl

SAN FRANCISCO – Melvin Alexis Diaz Arteaga (Diaz), a resident of Oakland, has pleaded guilty to six drug charges stemming from his sale of—and intent to sell—fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, announced United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey. Diaz’s guilty plea was accepted by the Hon. Charles R. Breyer, Senior United States District Judge, on October 26, 2023.

In his plea agreement, Diaz, 28, admitted he possessed 6.6 kilograms—that is, nearly 15 pounds—of fentanyl, along with lesser quantities of methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and other controlled substances, all of which he intended to sell, when he was arrested outside an apartment in Berkeley, California, on November 16, 2022.

According to the plea agreement, Diaz also admitted using the same Berkeley apartment to manufacture and store significant quantities of drugs for sale in the Tenderloin, among other locations. He also admitted he sold, or arranged the sale of, fentanyl and methamphetamine to an undercover officer of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) on four separate occasions between September 16, 2022, and October 5, 2022.

Finally, pursuant to the plea agreement, Diaz agreed to forfeit, among other things, more than $50,000 in cash that officers seized on the night of his arrest, including nearly $42,000 found in Diaz’s bedroom. Diaz acknowledged these funds either were, or were derived from, drug proceeds, or that they were used, or were intended to be used, to commit or facilitate his drug trafficking crimes.

Diaz and two co-defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury on January 5, 2023. Diaz was charged in six of the eight counts alleged in the indictment:




Statutory Maximum Prison Term


Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute 400 Grams or More of Fentanyl

21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A)(vi)



Possession with Intent to Distribute 400 Grams or More of Fentanyl

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A)(vi)



Possession with Intent to Distribute 100 Grams or More of Heroin

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B)(i)

40 years


Possession with Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Cocaine

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B)(ii)

40 years


Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B)(viii)

40 years


Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C)

20 years

Pursuant to his plea agreement, Diaz pleaded guilty to all six of the counts in which he was charged. In addition to the penalties listed above, as part of any sentence, the court may order the defendant to pay a fine of up to $10 million per count on Counts 1 and 2; $5 million per count on Counts 3, 4, and 7; and $1 million on Count 8. The defendant also faces a mandatory additional term of supervised release of five years on Counts 1 and 2; four years on Counts 3, 4, and 7; and three years on Count 8. However, any sentence will 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.

Diaz has been in custody since he was arrested on November 16, 2022. Judge Breyer has scheduled Diaz’s sentencing hearing for February 21, 2024.

Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas M. Parker is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Paralegal Specialist Jessie Chelsea. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, with assistance from SFPD.

Updated November 1, 2023