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Press Release

Mexican National Sentenced to Serve 135 Months in Federal Prison for Fentanyl Trafficking

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

More than 40 Pounds of Powder Fentanyl Seized from Oklahoma Traffic Stop


OKLAHOMA CITY – Earlier this week, JULIA ELIZABETH RODRIGUEZ ORTEGA, 31, a Mexican national living in California at the time of her arrest, was sentenced to serve more than 11 years in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, announced United States Attorney Robert J. Troester.

On March 15, 2022, a federal grand jury returned a two-count Indictment against Rodriguez Ortega.  Count 1 charged her with drug conspiracy and Count 2 charged her with possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute.  On July 1, 2022, Rodriguez Ortega pleaded guilty to Count 1 of the Indictment. 

At a sentencing hearing on June 20, 2023, U.S. District Court Judge Scott Palk sentenced Rodriguez Ortega to serve 135 months in federal prison.  In support of his sentence, Judge Palk cited, among other things, the serious nature of the offense and Rodriguez Ortega’s repeated pattern of smuggling drugs into the United States from Mexico.  Judge Palk also ordered that upon release from prison, Rodriguez Ortega must serve five years of supervised release.  Rodriguez Ortega has been in federal custody since her arrest on February 9, 2022.

The United States introduced records at Rodriguez Ortega’s sentencing hearing showing that she had been documented driving cars loaded with drugs into the United States from Mexico on several occasions since 2020.  However, due to Rodriguez Ortega conducting “driver swaps” she was able to evade capture.  On February 9, 2022, while driving through Oklahoma, Rodriguez Ortega was stopped by Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics agents who eventually searched Rodriguez Ortega’s car and found over 40 pounds of powder fentanyl.  The United States presented evidence at an earlier hearing that the amount of fentanyl possessed by Rodriguez Ortega equated to 9 million fatal doses and had an approximate street value of $10,000,000.

This case was the result of an investigation by the HSI Oklahoma City Field Office and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Travis Leverett.

Reference is made to court filings for further information.

Updated June 26, 2023