Chula Vista man sentenced to 10 years for being source of fentanyl that resulted in non-fatal overdoses in Alpine
SAN DIEGO – A Chula Vista man was sentenced today in federal court to 10 years in prison for distributing fentanyl that led to the non-fatal overdoses of five people in Alpine, some of whom were revived by first responders with naloxone.
In sentencing Joel Rodriguez of Chula Vista, U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia said the crimes were “very very serious” and drugs, like fentanyl, are “highly addictive and destructive to the population.”
According to court records, Rodriguez admitted that he obtained fentanyl from Mexico and then delivered it to another person for distribution in San Diego. Rodriguez knew that the substance was fentanyl and reminded his distributors that the substance was dangerous. Eventually, Rodriguez’s fentanyl led to the accidental overdoses of five individuals in Alpine on or about December 7, 2017. The individuals, who believed that they were using cocaine, ended up in the hospital. Some were treated at the scene with naloxone – a drug that reverses the depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system caused by opioids.
During the search of Rodriguez’s residence, agents found several baggies of cocaine and fentanyl, cutting agents, digital scales and pay-owe sheets documenting drug deliveries and payments. Rodriguez also admitted that he drove a vehicle containing cocaine on May 17, 2017, from San Diego County to Riverside County to deliver the bulk cocaine to another person for further distribution, months prior to his distribution of fentanyl.
“Mr. Rodriguez made the decision to risk the lives of others to make a quick buck,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Karen Flowers. “Five people almost lost their lives from the drugs provided by Mr. Rodriguez and countless others were impacted by his decision to traffic cocaine. Now, Mr. Rodriguez will pay for his poor decisions by losing his freedom for 10 years during the prime of his life. His sentence should serve as yet another reminder: If you deal drugs, there will be consequences that will cost you your freedom.”
United States Attorney’s Office, San Diego District Attorney’s Office, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, Homeland Security Investigations
# # #