Southern California Resident Indicted for Trafficking 150,000 Fentanyl Pills
FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment Thursday against Pantalion Lopez-Zavala, 30, of Hesperia, charging him with possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Brian M. Clark announced.
According to court documents, on July 12, 2023, Lopez-Zavala traveled from Southern California to the Central Valley to deliver 150,000 fentanyl pills to a buyer, who was in fact an undercover officer. The undercover officer negotiated the deal with two individuals who used Mexican telephone numbers. One of those individuals connected the undercover officer with Lopez-Zavala for completion of the deal. Lopez-Zavala arrived at the meeting with the fentanyl pills and was arrested shortly after delivering them.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin J. Gilio is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Lopez-Zavala faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $1 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.