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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

Monday, December 11, 2017

Defendant Charged with Smuggling 77 Pounds of Deadly Fentanyl into the United States in one of Largest Fentanyl Seizures along Southwest Border

Assistant U. S. Attorney Sherri Walker Hobson (619) 961-0287    


NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY –  December 11, 2017


SAN DIEGO – Tijuana resident Flavio Diego Rivera Davalos was arraigned today in federal court on charges that he smuggled approximately 77.82 pounds of fentanyl into the United States in one of the largest seizures of the deadly drug along the Southwest border with Mexico.


According to court documents, Davalos entered the United States from Mexico via the San Ysidro, California Port of Entry. Davalos, a visa holder, was the driver, sole occupant and registered owner of the 2010 Ford Focus bearing Baja California, Mexico license plates.


In pre-primary inspection, a Customs and Border Protection Officer and an assigned Narcotics and Human Detection Dog were conducting roving operations when the canine alerted to the odor of narcotics at the vehicle’s passenger rear door area and rear seats.


A CBP officer questioned Davalos regarding his purpose of travel to the United States and he responded that he was going to “Las Americas” Premium Outlets shopping mall. At the secondary inspection area, CBP officers detected anomalies in the rear seat and rear quarter panels of the vehicle. According to a complaint, officers found 31 packages throughout the vehicle, including in the driver’s side quarter panel, the passenger’s side quarter panel, the driver’s side rear seat, the passenger’s side rear seat, the speaker box and the firewall under the hood.


The defendant’s detention hearing is scheduled on December 14 at 9:45 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Crawford and his preliminary hearing is set for December 21 at 2 p.m.before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jan Adler.

Federal authorities, led by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations, confiscated 542.42 kilograms of fentanyl in FY 2017.  In FY 2015, there were only six seizures totaling 30.18 kilograms.  This represents a 914 percent increase in fentanyl seizures at the Ports of Entry in the Southern District of California.


DEFENDANT                                   Case Number 17MJ4684


Flavio Diego Rivera Davalos             Age 19              Tijuana, Mexico




Importation of Controlled Substance: 10 year minimum mandatory to life; fine of $1 million dollars; at least 3 years of supervised release; $100 Special Assessment




Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)


*The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.


Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 
Updated December 11, 2017