Fentanyl Pill Dealer Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

FRESNO, Calif. — Jonathon Cortez, 24, of Fresno, was sentenced today to five years in prison for conspiring to distribute hundreds of fentanyl pills, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, in August 2020, federal and local law enforcement officers with the Fentanyl Overdose Resolution Team were investigating Cortez’s associate for dealing fentanyl pills. On Aug. 24, 2020, officers searched that associate’s car, person, and residence and found hundreds of fentanyl pills made to look like oxycodone pills with an “M” stamped on one side and a “30” on the other. Further investigation revealed that Cortez had been supplying those fentanyl pills. On Dec. 14, 2021, Cortez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute over 40 grams of fentanyl.

This case was 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. Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin J. Gilio prosecuted the case.

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.