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Press Release

Previously Removed Foreign National Prosecuted and Arrested in Salt Lake County for Allegedly Possessing Over 12,000 Fentanyl Pills

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

SALT LAKE CITY – A federal grand jury in Salt Lake City returned an indictment charging a foreign national living in Salt Lake County for possessing over 12,000 blue M30 pills containing fentanyl with the intent to distribute. 

According to court documents, Oscar Noe Cota-Galaviz, 38 of West Jordan, Utah, allegedly illegally possessed over 12,000 fentanyl pills. On Sept. 20, 2023, during an execution of a search warrant of Cota-Galaviz’s residence, agents found approximately 10,000 blue “M30” pills containing fentanyl hidden inside a mattress in Cota-Galaviz’s residence. Agents also found approximately 1,000 blue pills containing fentanyl wrapped in a plastic container in Cota-Galaviz’s pants pocket. Cota-Galviz told agents the pills were “vitamins.” After obtaining a search warrant for Cota-Galaviz’s storage unit, detectives found approximately 1,500 blue “M30” pills containing fentanyl hidden inside a charcoal bag inside of the unit. Cota-Galaviz is a previously removed foreign national from the United States. 

Cota-Galaviz is charged with possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute and illegal reentry. The defendant had his initial court appearance on Oct. 5, 2023, at 1:30 p.m. in courtroom 8.4 before a U.S. Magistrate Judge at the Orrin G. Hatch United States District Courthouse in downtown Salt Lake City. 

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

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is investigating the case.
Special Assistant United States Attorney Kelsy B. Young for the District of Utah is 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.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 


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

Updated October 5, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Press Release Number: PR 23-68