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Press Release

California Man Sentenced to 18 Years for Trafficking Fentanyl into Virginia

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
Robert Contreras Supplied Hundreds of Thousands of Pressed Pills to Distributors

ABINGDON, Va. –  A Buena Park, California man, who supplied as many as 30,000 pressed fentanyl pills a week to individuals who then shipped the pills into Southwest Virginia, was sentenced today to 18 years in federal prison.

Robert Contreras, 24, a.k.a. “Quill,” previously pled guilty to one count of conspiring to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. In addition to his prison term, Contreras was ordered today to forfeit five firearms and $31,294 in cash.

“Fentanyl, especially in the form of pressed pills, is taking its toll on America, and Virginia is no exception. This case, involving the collaboration of law enforcement agencies across the country, is a prime example of the proactive measures undertaken by this Department of Justice to combat the burgeoning pressed pill epidemic currently plaguing our nation,” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said today. “We will investigate, prosecute and hold accountable those who profit by poisoning our communities, and – as exhibited here – we will work up the chain of drug traffickers as far and wide as possible to bring them to account.”

According to court documents, between 2020 and 2023, Contreras sold between 10,000 and 30,000 pressed fentanyl pills at a time to co-conspirator Marco Orozco at least once a week.  At the height of the conspiracy in late 2021 and early 2022, Contreras sold Orozco 10,000 pressed fentanyl pills multiple times per week. The pills were then shipped from California to Southwest Virginia and other locations across the country for further distribution.  Specifically, Orozco’s sub-distributors used various social media platforms to facilitate their drug trade. 

On March 6, 2023, a search warrant was executed at Contreras’ residence in California. At that time, officers recovered 1,639 pressed fentanyl pills, $31,294 in cash, and five firearms without serial numbers, in addition to approximately 7,000 alprazolam pills, 3,000 Adderall pills, 242 grams of cocaine, and other hallucinogenic narcotics.

The Wise County Sheriff’s Office, the Norton Police Department, the Southwest Virginia Drug Task Force (consisting of the Wise County Sheriff’s Office, the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the Norton Police Department, the Big Stone Gap Police Department, and the Virginia State Police), the Orange County (CA) Sheriff’s Department, the Santa Ana (CA) Police Department, the Anaheim (CA) Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, and the United States Postal Inspection Service investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lena L. Busscher prosecuted the case.

Updated May 2, 2024

Drug Trafficking