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Press Release

Federal Jury Convicts El Salvador Man for Conspiracy to Distribute Fentanyl and Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced that a federal jury has convicted Edwin Giovanni Salinas, age 44, of El Salvador, of Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance (Fentanyl) and Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance (Fentanyl) following a three-day jury trial in federal district court in Aberdeen, South Dakota. The verdict was returned on July 19, 2023.

Each charge carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum penalty of up to life in custody and/or a $10 million fine, five years to life of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. 

Salinas was indicted by a federal grand jury in May of 2023. 

On November 26, 2022, Salinas, along with his co-defendant, Berta Rosmelvi Gonzales, were pulled over during a traffic stop in northeast South Dakota. During a search of the vehicle, nearly 16 pounds of a mixture and substance containing fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled substance, was located.  The search revealed 12 packages – two containing powder weighing over 3.5 pounds and 10 containing pills, totaling approximately 50,000. Gonzales entered a guilty plea to Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance on July 20, 2023.

This case was investigated by the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribe Law Enforcement, the Roberts County Sheriff’s Department, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services Dangerous Drug Enforcement Unit.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy R. Jehangiri and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Paige Petersen prosecuted the case.

A presentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing date has been set for October 23, 2023. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Updated July 24, 2023

Drug Trafficking