Federal Grand Jury Returns Indictment Against Selma Man After Seizure of 17 Kilograms of Fentanyl Pills
FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment today against Uriel Sotelo-Patino, 35, of Selma, charging him with possession with intent to distribute over 400 grams of fentanyl, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert and Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Special Agent in Charge Bob P. Beris announced.
According to court documents, on Jan. 4, 2023, federal and local law enforcement agents searched residences associated with Sotelo-Patino, whom they had been investigating for fentanyl-pill trafficking. During the searches, officers recovered over 17 kilograms of fentanyl-laced pills. Sotelo-Patino was arrested and charged by a federal criminal complaint on Jan. 10, 2023.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Clovis Police Department, the Selma Police Department, and the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin J. Gilio is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Sotelo-Patino faces a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years up to a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is part of Operation Synthetic Opioid Surge (S.O.S.) a program designed to reduce the supply of deadly synthetic opioids in high impact areas as well as identifying wholesale distribution networks and international and domestic suppliers. In July 2018, the Justice Department announced the creation of S.O.S., which is being implemented in the Eastern District of California and nine other federal districts.