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Press Release

Arizona Man Pleads Guilty to Transporting Fentanyl Through KC to New York

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

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Nogales, Arizona, man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a conspiracy to transport large amounts of fentanyl through Kansas City, Missouri, en route to New York City aboard passenger busses.

Alejandro Rocha, also known as Alejandro Teran, 21, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to participating in a conspiracy to distribute fentanyl.

By pleading guilty today, Rocha admitted that, on two separate occasions, he attempted to transport more than three kilograms of fentanyl through Kansas City en route to New York City.

Rocha admitted that he gave more than three kilograms of fentanyl to his girlfriend, Esmeralda Castro, 21, of Perris, California, to carry aboard a bus to New York City. Three fentanyl bricks were placed in a false compartment inside a rolling bag. Castro, who has also pleaded guilty, was arrested at a Kansas City bus station on May 8, 2017, after a police service canine alerted to the bag.

Rocha also admitted that he gave another person 3.6 kilograms of fentanyl to carry aboard a bus from Denver, Colorado, to New York City. However, the bag became separated from the courier at some point on the bus trip. The bag arrived unaccompanied at a Kansas City bus station, where it was intercepted by police. 

Under federal statutes, Rocha is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of up to 40 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney D. Michael Green. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.

Updated May 22, 2020

Drug Trafficking