Federal agents arrest 3 men, seize about 430,000 fentanyl pills in Avondale

Oct 11, 2022, 2:00 PM
Fentanyl pills (Drug Enforcement Agency File Photo)...
Fentanyl pills (Drug Enforcement Agency File Photo)
(Drug Enforcement Agency File Photo)

PHOENIX – Three men, including two from the Valley, face the possibility of life in prison for their alleged roles in a fentanyl trafficking ring, federal authorities said Tuesday.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona said Avondale’s Carlos Alberto Castro-Ruiz, 27, Phoenix’s Alexander Ortega-Islas, 22, and Mexico’s Keivin Crosswell-Cervantes, 28, were each indicted last week on two charges: conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and methamphetamine, and use or possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking offense.

A conviction on the conspiracy charge would result in a sentence of 10 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000,000. The firearms charge carries a penalty of 5-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

U.S. Homeland Security Investigations agents arrested the suspects and seized large quantities of illegal drugs in Avondale on Sept. 21, according to a press release.

The seizure included about 430,000 fentanyl pills and 25 pounds of methamphetamine along with three pistols.

Crosswell-Cervantes, Castro-Ruiz, and Ortega-Islas had their initial court appearances on Sept. 23.

The federal seizure and arrests happened the same week the Phoenix Police Department made its largest fentanyl bust ever. Officers seized about 1 million pills containing the powerful synthetic opioid from an Avondale residence and arrested two men in that case.

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Federal agents arrest 3 men, seize about 430,000 fentanyl pills in Avondale