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Press Release

California Man Pleads Guilty to Bringing Over 65,000 Fentanyl Pills to Syracuse for Distribution

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Jose Orozco Acosta, age 22, of Bakersfield, California, pled guilty today to possessing over 65,000 fentanyl pills with the intent to distribute them.

United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New York Division Frank A. Tarentino III, Acting Special Agent in Charge of U.S. DEA California Division Bob Beris, and New York State Police (NYSP) Acting Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli made the announcement.

As part of his plea, Acosta admitted that, on April 4, 2022, he travelled from Bakersfield, CA to a storage unit in Syracuse, NY.  Acosta transferred the contents of his storage unit, which included a black plastic tote, to a different storage unit in the city of Syracuse.  The black plastic tote that Acosta transported contained over 65,000 fentanyl pills, weighing approximately 7.2 kilograms.  The defendant possessed the fentanyl pills with the intent to distribute them throughout the Central New York area. 

The investigation, which was coordinated primarily by NYSP Investigators in conjunction with DEA Special Agents in Bakersfield, CA, revealed that Acosta was transporting fentanyl and other narcotics from his home in Bakersfield to drug dealers in the Central New York area for further distribution.  As part of the investigation, many of the local dealers that Acosta was supplying were arrested in August 2022 during what authorities called the largest drug seizure in Cayuga County in over 10 years.

As a result of his plea, Acosta faces a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison, a fine of up to $10,000,000, and a term of supervised release of at least 5 years and up to life.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on August 22, 2023 by Chief United States District Judge Brenda K. Sannes in Syracuse, New York.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors. 

NYSP Violent Gang and Narcotics Enforcement Team (NYSP-VGNET) and DEA Resident Offices in Syracuse, NY and Bakersfield, CA are investigating the case with assistance from the Finger Lakes Drug Task Force, Auburn Police Department, Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office, United States Marshal Service, United States Army National Guard Counterdrug Program, Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office, Cortland City Police Department, Bakersfield Police Department, Kern County Sheriff’s Office, and Kern County Probation Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica N. Carbone is prosecuting the case.

Updated April 27, 2023

Drug Trafficking