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Press Release

63,000 Fentanyl Pills Removed from Utah Streets and Alleged Drug Dealers Indicted and in Custody

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

Salt Lake City, Utah – A federal grand jury in Salt Lake City returned an indictment today charging two foreign nationals living in Utah with multiple federal crimes including possession and distribution of narcotics.

According to court documents, Lenin Rafael Rodriguez-Villafranca, a/k/a “Jose Santiago Funez Villafranca,” 23, of Magna, Utah, and Onesy Basilo Avilez-Flores, a/k/a Rafael Flores Onesy Basilo,” 22, of Magna, Utah, are in federal custody. According to a criminal complaint, in May 2023, the FBI Wasatch Metro Drug Task Force (WMDTF), initiated a criminal investigation into Rodriguez-Villafranca and other members of a drug trafficking organization suspected of distributing large amounts of narcotics in Utah. During the execution of a search warrant for Villafranca’s residence on June 6, 2023, agents saw Avilez-Flores with narcotics, which were consistent with blue fentanyl pills. Avilez-Flores attempted to retreat further into the residence and dispose of the narcotics. Agents recovered counterfeit blue M-30 pills on the floor of the residence and in the toilet. Agents also recovered approximately 6,288 grams of field-tested positive fentanyl (totaling approximately 63,000 pills), approximately 2,737 grams of field-tested positive heroin, and approximately 1,096 grams of field-tested positive cocaine.

Rodriguez-Villafranca and Avilez-Flores are charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and reentry of a previously removed alien. The defendants are scheduled for their initial court appearance on the indictment June 23, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. in courtroom 8.4 before a U.S. Magistrate Judge at the Orrin G. Hatch United States District Courthouse in Salt Lake City, Utah.

U.S. Attorney, Trina A. Higgins, of the District of Utah made the announcement.

The case is being investigated by the FBI Salt Lake City Field Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Utah are prosecuting the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.


Felicia Martinez
Public Affairs Specialist
(801) 325-3237
USAO-UT | Facebook | Twitter

Updated June 21, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Press Release Number: 23-43