3 Mexican Men Plead Guilty in LA in Scheme to Distribute Millions of Fentanyl Pills

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The plan was to meet a buyer at a Denny’s and sell him a sample box, then 1 million pills that day and 1 million more the next day.

Three Mexican men pleaded guilty in federal court this week to a scheme in which they intended to sell more than 1 million fentanyl pills, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in an April 2 press release.

According to their plea agreements, Florencio Camacho Allan, 29, Gerardo Gaxiola Patiño, 30, and Alex Valdez Oroz, 26, all from Sinaloa, Mexico, conspired with one another and others from September 2022 to March 2023 to sell about 2 million fentanyl pills.

Sometime prior to March 7, 2023, a Mexico-based drug broker arranged a deal with a buyer in Los Angeles who would pay 75 cents per pill. As part of the deal, the buyer also agreed to purchase a “sample box” of around 10,000 pills at the same price, according to the press release.

On March 7, 2023, the broker arranged for Mr. Camacho Allan to meet with the buyer at a Denny’s restaurant in El Segundo. The three men reportedly arrived at the restaurant in a white car, and Mr. Camacho Allan and Mr. Gaxiola Patiño met the buyer and an associate inside the restaurant, discussing plans to sell 1 million fentanyl pills that day and 1 million the next day, according to the attorney’s office. Mr. Valdez Oroz waited in the car.

After the meeting, the men headed to the white car, where Mr. Gaxiola Patiño grabbed a black bag and handed it to the buyer. Officials said the bag contained about 10,082 fentanyl pills and weighed 2.5 pounds. The buyer paid $7,500 for the pills and the three defendants then drove away.

Later the same day, Mr. Camacho Allan via a WhatsApp video call showed one of the buyers the larger supply of pills in the trunk of the same car, and he agreed to meet in a Holiday Inn parking lot in El Monte, a city about 15 miles east of Los Angeles, for the sale. The press release didn’t mention how many buyers there were, or if the buyer was the same one who purchased the sample pills.

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At the Holiday Inn, law enforcement detained Mr. Camacho Allan and Mr. Valdez Oroz in the parking lot and found and detained Mr. Gaxiola Patiño, who was in the hotel’s lobby bathroom.

Three duffle bags full of fentanyl pills were found in the trunk and back seat of the white car, a total of 1,016,270 pills that weighed around 241 pounds, the attorney’s office said.

Seized fentanyl pills in three duffle bags. (U.S. Attorney's Office)
Seized fentanyl pills in three duffle bags. (U.S. Attorney’s Office)

All three men pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl .

U.S. District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld Jr. scheduled a sentencing hearing for Aug. 13. Each man will face anywhere from 10 years in prison to a maximum of life imprisonment, according to the press release.

The Drug Enforcement Administration investigated the case with help from Homeland Security; Hawthorne, Fullerton, and El Monte police; and the California National Guard.

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