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Press Release

Mexican National Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Illegal Reentry and Role in Fentanyl Trafficking Conspiracy

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

TOLEDO – A Mexican national was sentenced on Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, to 15 years in prison by U.S. District Judge James G. Carr after he pleaded guilty to his role in a fentanyl trafficking conspiracy in the Toledo area, as well as illegal reentry into the United States.

According to court documents, in June 2019, Toledo Police Department officers arrested Felipe Penuelas-Rodriguez, 53, of Mexico, following a traffic stop and search of his vehicle.  During the search, officers obtained, among other items, 118 fentanyl pills, a duffel bag containing a kilogram brick of fentanyl, and an additional 2,125 fentanyl pills stored in the trunk of the vehicle.

 Penuelas-Rodriguez was charged and sentenced under an enhanced penalty due to a prior serious drug trafficking conviction in the Arizona Superior Court. He was also convicted of illegal reentry, having been removed from the United States to Mexico on four separate occasions before he was found in Toledo.

Penuelas-Rodriguez’s passenger, Reyna Trejo, was charged as a co-conspirator with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance.  Trejo was sentenced to five years in prison on Dec. 5, 2022. Agents determined that Penuelas-Rodriguez and Trejo were traveling across the country delivering fentanyl and bulk cash to co-conspirators along the way when they were stopped in Toledo.

Penuelas-Rodriguez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance in July 2022.

This case was investigated by United States Homeland Security Investigations, the Toledo Police Department, and the Northwest Ohio Interdiction Task Force.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert N. Melching.



Daniel Ball 

Updated January 18, 2023

Drug Trafficking