RENO, Nev. – A federal grand jury has returned indictments charging three residents of Sparks, Nevada, for their alleged roles relating to the distribution of fentanyl (a deadly synthetic opioid).
According to allegations in the indictment and arguments made in court, from about November 2019 to March 2021, Arevalo and Navarro-Delgado conspired to maintain several apartments for the purpose of storing and distributing large quantities of fentanyl and cocaine. Arevalo acquired thousands of fentanyl pills as well as kilograms of cocaine per month, using those apartments to store and distribute the controlled substances. Further, from about November 2019 to February 2020, Arevalo allegedly used students at a southeast Reno high school to distribute controlled substances, including fentanyl pills, on his behalf.
“During the pandemic, Nevada has seen an increase in overdoses, as illegal drugs and illicit drug use continue to exact an enormous toll across our state,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher Chiou for the District of Nevada. “Together with our law enforcement partners, we will keep fighting to stop the distribution of drugs in our communities — particularly schemes that get children and youth involved in drug sales and trafficking.”
“Fentanyl and other highly potent synthetic opioids remain the primary driver behind the ongoing opioid crisis with counterfeit prescription pills being the most prevalent form of exposure,” said Acting Reno Resident Agent in Charge Aimee Koontz for the DEA. “Individuals that prey on our youth and community by distributing these potentially lethal counterfeit pills pressed with fentanyl will be held accountable. These fake pills are disguised to look like prescription pills, but in reality taking one is no different than playing Russian roulette that is fueling the opioid epidemic.”
“This time last year our community was reeling because of shocking fentanyl overdose deaths,” said Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam. “I asked for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s support in investigating the distribution of opiates in our region, and ultimately agents ended up adopting our drug cases due to their national and international implications. I am extremely grateful to the Drug Enforcement Administration and federal, state and local law enforcement partners for their diligent work on the cases. I promise you and every member of our community, we will not stop fighting illegal drug trafficking in Washoe County.”
Arevalo, Navarro-Delgado, and Munoz were charged by two indictments on March 25, 2021, and Arevalo was charged with additional criminal offenses on April 15, 2021. Arevalo and Munoz were detained and remanded to custody, and Navarro-Delgado was released on a personal recognizance bond. Jury trials have been scheduled before Chief U.S. District Judge Miranda Du and U.S. District Judge Larry R. Hicks on May 17, 2021.
If convicted, Arevalo faces a maximum statutory penalty of life imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000,000. If convicted, Navarro-Delgado, and Munoz each face a maximum statutory penalty of 40 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000,000.
An indictment merely alleges that a crime has been committed. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The cases were investigated by the DEA and Washoe County Sheriff’s Office with assistance by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), United States Marshals Service (USMS), Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Nevada Highway Patrol K-9, Regional Gang Unit, Regional Narcotics Unit, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office K-9, Sparks Police Department K-9, and (Regional) Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Andolyn Johnson is prosecuting the cases.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine: only a few milligrams of this chemical compound, equivalent to a few grains of table salt, are enough to cause a fatal overdose. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 70% of the nearly 71,000 drug overdoses in 2019 involved an opioid.
If you have information of a potential violation of controlled substances laws and regulations, including the growing, manufacture, distribution or trafficking of controlled substances, please contact the DEA at https://www.dea.gov/submit-tip.