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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 15, 2018

Defendant Pleads Guilty To Importing Over 20,000 Fentanyl Pills at the San Ysidro Port of Entry

Believed To Be Largest Single Port Seizure Of Fentanyl Pills

Across the Southwest Border of the U.S.

 

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – November 15, 2018

SAN DIEGO –   Today, Fernando Jesus Peraza, age 39, pleaded guilty before federal Magistrate Judge Jill Burkhardt to importing over 20,000 fentanyl pills.  Peraza was arrested at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on August 8, 2018. Peraza, a United States citizen, resided in Tijuana at the time of the offense but worked at a local trash collection service in the United States.  

According to court records, Peraza was the driver and sole occupant of his vehicle.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) officers initially contacted Peraza in the pre-primary inspection area; he was referred to secondary inspection, where officers found four packages concealed in the passenger side rear quarter panel.  The counterfeit pills, which were designed to resemble M30s or oxycodone, contained fentanyl. 

Defendant admitted today that he imported approximately 20,000 pills containing fentanyl in his vehicle and knew that his vehicle contained fentanyl, or some other prohibited drug.  He faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in custody.

“Counterfeit pills are especially dangerous because users often don’t know they are ingesting fentanyl,” said U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman.  “With overdoses taking a life every 8 minutes, federal law enforcement agencies are prioritizing prosecution of every individual who smuggles and distributes this deadly substance.  Thanks to the vigilance of CBP, these deadly pills will not see the streets of our communities.” 

Defendant is scheduled for sentencing on February 1, 2019, before United States District Court Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sherri Hobson.

DEFENDANT                                    Case Number 18CR3908GPC                           

Fernando Jesus Peraza                Age: 38        Tijuana, Mexico

SUMMARY OF CHARGE

Importation of Controlled Substances

Maximum penalty: 10 years minimum to life; $10,000,000 fine; supervised release; $100 special assessment)

INVESTIGATING AGENCIES

Homeland Security Investigations

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP)

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Contact: 
Cindy Cipriani (619) 546-9608
Press Release Number: 
CAS18-1115-Peraza
Updated November 15, 2018