San Diego State University Basketball Stars Join with U.S. Attorney’s Office and City Attorney’s Office to Launch Fentanyl Awareness Campaign
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SAN DIEGO – Lorenzo Anthony Garcia of Brawley, 23, was sentenced in federal court today to 130 months in prison and three years of supervised release for providing the fentanyl that caused the overdose death of Josue M. Garcia Moreno, a young football player from Central Union High School in Imperial County. When issuing the sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel noted the importance of ensuring a significant consequence to deter future similar acts, stating that “fentanyl is a drug so powerful that it takes a life in the blink of an eye. There is no recovery, no redress, no rehabilitation. Just misery.”
On October 8, 2021, Garcia pleaded guilty to knowingly selling Josue, a 15-year old high school student, a substance containing fentanyl on October 6, 2019. The plea agreement reflects that two days later, Josue’s great-grandfather, with whom he lived, discovered him lifeless. Garcia admitted that Josue used the fentanyl Garcia sold him at his grandfather’s home late in the evening or October 7, 2019 or early the following morning; he further stipulated that the fentanyl he provided caused Josue’s death. At the hearing, the prosecutor noted that even though Garcia was aware Josue had died, he thereafter arranged to sell fentanyl to another individual, a circumstance that Judge Curiel found “most troubling.”
“This case is a tragic reminder that a promising young life can vanish in an instant due to a single mistake
with fentanyl,” said U.S. Randy Grossman. “It is vitally important to hold purveyors of this poison
accountable, obtaining justice and closure for family members who face such a loss.” Grossman thanked
the prosecution team and investigating agencies for their excellent work on this case.
The Southern District of California is an epicenter for the trafficking of synthetic fentanyl, a drug that is
30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin, rendering even a tiny amount potentially deadly. Recently
released statistics reflect that more than 60% of the nation’s fentanyl border seizures by U.S. Customs and
Border Protection occur in San Diego and Imperial Counties.
“The U.S. Attorney’s office is working with multiple law enforcement and community partners to
vigorously attack the fentanyl problem on all fronts, including interdiction, prosecution of cartel targets
and local dealers, and prevention through harm reduction and education,” Grossman said. “We are using
every available tool to combat this deadly epidemic and stop these tragic losses.” Grossman encouraged
parents to learn about fentanyl and talk with their children about the deadly consequences of taking pills
not prescribed to them. Those interested in learning more can consult an online Fentanyl Tool Kit the U.S.
Attorney’s Office helped to create to provide vital information to the community regarding fentanyl:
“In the age of fentanyl, it’s critical that we all work together to educate teenagers about the dangers of
drugs. Sadly, fentanyl cost Josue Garcia Moreno his life and the potential for a bright future,” said DEA
Special Agent in Charge Shelly S. Howe. “The DEA has resources available for parents, grandparents,
and educators at www.getsmartaboutdrugs.gov to assist in talking to teenagers about drugs. We urge
families to use DEA’s resources and to advocate for drug education classes in your schools.”
Under federal law, sellers and suppliers of drugs that cause death or serious bodily injury may face a 20-
year mandatory minimum sentence. In recent years, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged dozens of
alleged dealers with that 20-year mandatory minimum offense – including today’s case.
Grossman urged users who experiment with fentanyl and those who have a loved one with Substance Use
Disorder to obtain Naloxone, which can reverse the effects of opioid overdose and save lives.
DEFENDANT Case Number 20cr1222 GPC
Lorenzo Anthony Garcia Age: 23 Brawley, CA
SUMMARY OF CHARGE
Distribution of Fentanyl – Title 21, U.S.C., Sections 841(a)(1)
Maximum penalty: 20 years in prison and $1,000,000 fine
Drug Enforcement Administration
El Centro Police Department