KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A California man pleaded guilty in federal court today to smuggling more than 33,000 counterfeit pills that contained nearly four kilograms of fentanyl aboard a bus traveling through Kansas City, Mo., from Los Angeles, Calif.
Matthew J. Gomez, 28, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to possessing fentanyl with the intent to distribute.
Members of the Missouri Western Interdiction Task Force (MoWIN) watched Gomez at a local bus terminal on March 16, 2023, as he got off a bus traveling through Kansas City from Los Angeles. Gomez was wearing a backpack and carrying a large duffel bag. He walked out the front doors of the bus terminal and paced back and forth on the sidewalk while making a call on his cell phone.
The detective asked Gomez if he would consent to a search of his luggage. Gomez placed his duffel bag on the ground and was in the process of removing his backpack when he quickly stepped away from the detective in an attempt to flee. A struggle ensued, and Gomez was eventually placed under arrest and escorted into the terminal.
Officers searched Gomez’s backpack and found three large, heat-sealed packages that contained numerous blue M30 pills. The Kansas City Police Crime Laboratory subsequently confirmed that the recovered pills contain fentanyl. The number of pills totaled 33,497 for an approximate weight of 3,684.97 grams, or 8.12 pounds.
Under federal statutes, Gomez is subject to a sentence of up to 20 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 Robert M. Smith. It was investigated by the Kansas City Mo., Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration.