Texas men arrested for transporting 10 kilograms of fentanyl
SHREVEPORT, La. – United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced today that two Texas men were arrested today for transporting more than 10 kilograms of fentanyl.
Felipe Rodriguez, 21, of McAllen, Texas, and Brandon Montoya, 23 of Kaufman, Texas, were arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. United States Magistrate Judge Mark L. Hornsby presided over the initial appearance hearing, which was held this afternoon. According to the complaint filed during the hearing, a Louisiana State Police trooper conducted a traffic stop today on an SUV on Interstate-20 at mile marker 31 going eastbound. The trooper searched the vehicle and found a compartment in rear cargo area. Through a hole in the compartment, he could see a plastic bag containing an unknown substance. The vehicle was brought to Louisiana State Police Troop G headquarters. Upon a more thorough search, they found 10 plastic 1-kilogram bags containing fentanyl. The defendants admitted to transporting the drugs. They said they had been approached in Houston to travel to California to obtain the drugs. They were then instructed to drive to Atlanta, Georgia, where they would be paid for the delivery.
The defendants face up to 10 years to life in prison, at least five years of supervised release and a $10 million fine. The defendants will remain in custody until the detention hearing, which was set for May 15, 2018.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. In recent years it has become more widely available in the United States and grown as a threat to public safety. It only takes a very small amount of fentanyl or its derivatives- which can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin or mucus membranes (such as being inhaled through the nose or mouth)- to result in severe adverse reactions including death. For more information about fentanyl, visit www.dea.gov/druginfo/fentanyl.
The DEA, Homeland Security Investigations and Louisiana State Police investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany E. Fields is prosecuting the case.
A complaint is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.