FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned two indictments today, charging two Fresno County men with possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute it, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
In addition to being charged with possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, Uriel Diaz-Santos, 19, of Fresno, was also charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. According to court documents, after two juveniles overdosed on fentanyl pills, investigators interviewed witnesses and reviewed phone records, ultimately developing enough evidence to obtain a search warrant for Diaz-Santos’s residence. On Nov. 2, 2021, investigators searched Diaz-Santos’s house and found thousands of fentanyl pills and a firearm.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Fentanyl Overdose Resolution Team, a multi‑agency team composed of Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Fresno Police Department.
A separate indictment charges David Joseph Yama, 38, of Reedley, with possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute it. According to court documents, on Sept. 1, 2020, police officers went to a gas station in Clovis after a report of suspicious activity and contacted Yama and two associates. A search of the car that Yama had been driving uncovered a large amount of cash, ammunition, plastic baggies, vials containing fentanyl, and over 200 counterfeit oxycodone pills that contained fentanyl.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Clovis Police Department and the Fentanyl Overdose Resolution Team, a multi-agency team composed of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Homeland Security Investigations, and the Fresno Police Department.
Assistant United States Attorney Justin J. Gilio is prosecuting both cases.
If convicted, Diaz-Santos faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison up to a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. If convicted, Yama faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. 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.
These cases are 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.
These cases are being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.