Man sentenced to nearly 6 years in prison for trying to sell fentanyl at Arizona Mills

Jun 2, 2023, 8:00 PM

A photo from the Drug Enforcement Agency showing pill seized in Tempe, Arizona. Steve Lugo Leon of ...

(Drug Enforcement Agency Photo)

(Drug Enforcement Agency Photo)

PHOENIX — A Phoenix man was sentenced to 70 months in prison for trying to sell fentanyl at the Arizona Mills shopping center in Tempe, authorities said Thursday.

Steve Lugo Leon, 24, previously pleaded guilty to possession of at least 40 grams of a substance containing fentanyl with intent to distribute, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona said in a press release.

A codefendant in the case, 20-year-old Rafael Ivan Valenzuela Chairez of Phoenix, was sentenced to 18 months in prison. He previously pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

Drug Enforcement Agency agents determined that the men arranged to sell the illegal drugs at the mall near Interstate 10 and U.S. 60 on Sept. 15, 2021, according to prosecutors.

Gila River Police Department officers attempted to stop a pickup truck Leon was driving in the Arizona Mills parking lot.

The truck fled and hit another vehicle, knocking it on its side. Chairez got out and tried to flee on foot before officers apprehended him.

Leon kept driving until he crashed into a light pole.

Agents found 12.83 kilograms of methamphetamine and 946 grams of pills containing fentanyl pills in the bed of the pickup, according to the release.

According to the DEA, the meth was concealed in a stuffed animal pillow.

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Man sentenced to nearly 6 years in prison for trying to sell fentanyl at Arizona Mills