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Press Release

Utica Man Pleads Guilty to Fentanyl Conspiracy and Distribution

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

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Bernabe Lopez, age 58, of Utica, New York, pled guilty yesterday to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and distribution of fentanyl, announced United States Attorney Carla Freedman; Frank A. Tarentino III, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division and Thomas Fattorusso, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), New York Field Office.

In pleading guilty yesterday, Lopez admitted that from May 2020 through October 2021, he acquired quantities of fentanyl from co-conspirators, which he then re-distributed to others in the Utica, New York area.  Lopez admitted that the combined amount of fentanyl that he distributed during this time frame exceeded 40 grams.  Lopez also admitted that during the conspiracy, he sold a cutting agent to member of the conspiracy for $10 a gram knowing that the co-conspirators were adulterating fentanyl with the cutting agent to increase volume for sales.   

Sentencing is scheduled for February 29, 2024, in front of United States District Judge David N. Hurd.  Lopez faces a minimum of 5 years in prison, a maximum of 40 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $5 million, and a term of supervised release of at least 4 years and up to life. 

This case is being investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations Division, Homeland Security Investigations, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Removal Operations, New York State Police, Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, Oneida County District Attorney’s Office, Utica Police Department, Syracuse Police Department, Rome Police Department,  Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office, New York Army National Guard Counter Drug Program, Yorkville Police Department, Whitesboro Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamara Thomson.

Updated November 2, 2023

Drug Trafficking