For Immediate Release
Three Defendants Sentenced to Prison for Fentanyl Pill Trafficking
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Three defendants were sentenced today for trafficking fentanyl pills and other drugs, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
The three defendants were sentenced for their involvement with a Sacramento-based drug trafficking organization (DTO). According to court documents, the DTO was led by Jose Lopez-Zamora, and from at least May 2019 until January 2021, it was responsible for importing tens of thousands of fentanyl-laced counterfeit oxycodone “M-30” pills from Mexico and distributing them in northern California and elsewhere. In addition, they distributed cocaine and methamphetamine.
Rudi Jean Carlos Flores, 29, of Manteca, was sentenced to 10 years and one month in prison for conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine. According to court documents, Flores was a Manteca-based distributor for the Lopez-Zamora DTO. During a federal wiretap in October through December 2020, agents intercepted calls in which Flores ordered 1,000 or more M-30 pills from Lopez-Zamora on multiple occasions. In one wiretapped call, Lopez-Zamora admonished Flores to make sure his customers did not text him, because if one of Flores’s customers were to die from the pills, the texts would hurt Flores. Flores laughed and said he understood. In another wiretapped call, Flores promised to look into and confront some “gangsters” whom Lopez-Zamora suspected of stealing a load of 11,000 M-30 fentanyl pills from him. Agents searched Flores’s residence on Jan. 13, 2021, and found about 400 M-30 fentanyl pills, $33,470 in cash, and two loaded handguns. Text messages on Flores’s seized phone revealed that he informed an associate that there would be retaliation if someone “snitched” on them.
Jason Lamar Lee, 49, of Sparks, Nevada, was sentenced to eight years and seven months in prison for conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine. According to court documents, Lee was a Reno-based distributor for the Lopez-Zamora DTO who obtained one to two thousand fentanyl M-30 pills and pound quantities of methamphetamine from Lopez-Zamora. In multiple wiretapped phone calls, Lee and Lopez-Zamora discussed how they needed to identify a suspected informant so they could retaliate by murdering him. Agents searched Lee’s residence on Jan. 13, 2021, and found over 1,000 fentanyl M-30 pills, almost a pound of methamphetamine, and two handguns.
Mateo Elias Guerrero-Gonzales, 24, of Sacramento, was sentenced today to two years and three months in prison for distribution of fentanyl. According to court documents, on Feb. 6, 2020, Guerrero-Gonzales sold 100 fentanyl M-30 pills to a confidential source. When co-defendant Christopher Williams began to snort one of the pills that he received as payment for brokering the deal, Guerrero-Gonzales warned him to snort only half the pill because they contained fentanyl. On Jan. 13, 2021, agents searched Guerrero-Gonzales’s residence and found psilocybin mushrooms, marijuana, $7,675 in cash, seven firearms, and numerous firearm magazines and boxes of ammunition. One of the firearms was a short-barrel rifle and one was a fully automatic Glock handgun.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Yuba-Sutter Narcotic and Gang Enforcement Task Force (NET-5), the California Highway Patrol, the Butte Interagency Narcotics Task Force (BINTF), the Tri-County Drug Enforcement Team (TRIDENT), the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, the Sacramento Police Department, the Roseville Police Department, the Manteca Police Department, the Yuba City Police Department, and the West Sacramento Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney David W. Spencer is prosecuting the case.
Three other defendants have pleaded guilty: Christopher Kegan Williams pleaded guilty, and on Dec. 14, 2021, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. Alejandro Tello pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 17, 2023. Baudelio Vizcarra Jr., pleaded guilty, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 3, 2022.
Charges are pending against the following defendants: Jose Guadalupe Lopez-Zamora, Leonardo Flores Beltran, Christian Anthony Romero, Joaquin Alberto Sotelo Valdez, Erika Gabriela Zamora Rojo, Jose Luis Aguilar Saucedo, Rosario Zamora Rojo, and Sandro Escobedo. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at www.justice.gov/OCDETF.