California Man Sentenced to Nine and a Half Years for Trafficking Fentanyl and Firearms Offenses
Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan announced that on Thursday, May 20, 2021, Brandon D. Hibler, 35, of California, was sentenced by U.S. Judge Donald C. Nugent to 115 months imprisonment. Hibler pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug tracking crime and felon in possession of a firearm in January of 2021.
According to court records, on the night of April 26, 2020, while conducting a routine patrol, an officer with the Peninsula Police Department observed a vehicle parked overnight in a parking lot area of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The officer investigated the vehicle due to the park’s closure and discovered that the vehicle had been reported stolen. At this time, additional police officers with the Richfield Police Department arrived to assist the officer. The officers then approached the vehicle and discovered a man, later identified as Hibler, and an adult female sleeping in the rear.
Shortly thereafter, a Park Ranger with the National Park Service arrived to conduct a search of the vehicle and assist with the investigation. During the search, the Ranger located numerous personal drug use and drug trafficking items, including digital scales, hypodermic syringe needles, a Naloxone spray cartridge, multiple fentanyl test strips and a loaded .44-caliber revolver. An additional 9mm-caliber pistol containing Hibler’s DNA was later discovered in the area near where the vehicle was parked.
The Park Ranger then searched Hibler himself and found a plastic bag containing a substance later determined to consist of a fentanyl mixture. After Hibler's identity was established, he told the law enforcement officers present that he believed he had an existing warrant from the state of California and that he sells heroin to make money. Hibler is prohibited from possessing a firearm due to previous convictions for assault and child abuse in the Superior Court of California.
This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Park Service, Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Peninsula Police Department and Richfield Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Damoun Delaviz.