ARIZONA NEWS

Drug trafficker sentenced to 7 years in prison for elaborate fentanyl distribution scheme

May 26, 2024, 6:30 AM

A man was sentenced to seven years in prison for fentanyl-related crimes. (Pexels photo)...

A man was sentenced to seven years in prison for fentanyl-related crimes. (Pexels photo)

(Pexels photo)

PHOENIX — A man was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to fentanyl-related crimes, the U.S Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona announced Friday.

Angel Valencia-Avendano, a 20-year-old from Los Mochis, Sinaloa in Mexico, was initially arrested in Phoenix in March 2023 and charged with fentanyl trafficking, authorities said.

Before the arrest, investigators were conducting surveillance near 78th Avenue and McDowell Road. They then pulled Valencia-Avendano over for a traffic violation and searched his vehicle.

In a duffle bag, investigators found about 27 kilograms of fentanyl, or about 280,000 pills worth. When they later searched his apartment, they found a handgun, three more kilograms of fentanyl, drug ledgers and $83,500 in cash.

The gun and cash were handed over to U.S. officials.

Assistant US Attorney Ryan McCarthy handled prosecution in the case, and U.S. Chief District Judge G. Murray Snow handled the sentencing in the last week, which was for possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.

“As far as the amount of fentanyl just pouring over the border, it’s just incredible how much is coming over,” Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell told KTAR News 92.3 FM earlier this month as part of Fentanyl Awareness Day.

“The amounts are just through the roof, and … fentanyl drives other criminal behavior — either violence or property crimes to support the habit — and it’s so easy to get,” Mitchell added.

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Drug trafficker sentenced to 7 years in prison for elaborate fentanyl distribution scheme