California Man Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison
Eleven Kilos of Fentanyl Seized from Hidden Compartment in His Mini-Van
A Palmdale, California man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to ten years in prison and five years of supervised release for possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. DANIEL GUERRERO, 28, of Palmdale, California, was identified as a source for Mexican cartel connected fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine in late July 2017. GUERRERO entered into a drug deal with a person working with law enforcement that resulted in the seizure in August 2017 of 11 kilos of fentanyl, one kilo of heroin, and 12 pounds of methamphetamine. The drugs were seized from a mini-van parked at an apartment complex in Puyallup, Washington. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle said “I cannot emphasize how serious fentanyl distribution is; to call it ‘trafficking in death’ is not hyperbole.”
“More than 29,000 people died in 2017 from overdoses involving illegal fentanyl – more than five times as many deaths as occurred in 2014,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “The seizure of more than 11 kilos of fentanyl took millions of doses of a very dangerous drug off the streets of western Washington communities. We will continue to use all tools available to stop the trafficking of fentanyl and save lives wherever we can.”
According to records filed in the case, GUERRERO was planning on selling the seized drugs for $350,000. GUERRERO left the California licensed mini-van at a Puyallup apartment and used a rental car to take his family to eastern Washington. Law enforcement seized the drugs and mini-van. GUERRERO quickly left Washington State for California and then traveled on to Mexico. Law enforcement officers in full haz-mat suits were called in to search the mini van. Because even a minimal amount of fentanyl can be fatal, the drugs were immediately transferred to the DEA Western Regional Laboratory in California.
GUERRERO was charged by criminal complaint and when he attempted to return to the United States at Nogales, he was arrested on the warrant. GUERRERO pleaded guilty in October 2018.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Tacoma Resident Office, along with the Tahoma Narcotics Enforcement Team (TNET), which consists of the Washington Department of Corrections, Auburn Police Department, Bonney Lake Police Department Lakewood Police Department, Tacoma Police Department, Puyallup Police Department, and the Pierce County Sheriff's Office. The case was supported by the Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and National Guard.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Marci L. Ellsworth.