Federal Jury Convicts Mexican National for Trafficking Fentanyl and Heroin

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

Baltimore, Maryland – A federal jury yesterday convicted Alexander Juarez-Sanchez, a/k/a Jose Manuel Flores, age 37, a citizen of Mexico most recently residing in Indianapolis, Indiana, for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and for possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, specifically fentanyl and heroin, and for illegally re-entering the United States after removal.    

The conviction was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Colonel Woodrow W. Jones III, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Field Office Director Lyle Boelens of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), Baltimore Field Office; and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Baltimore District Office.

According to the evidence presented at his five-day trial, on August 5, 2020, Juarez-Sanchez and a co-conspirator were arrested near Hagerstown, Maryland, by officers of the Maryland State Police (MSP) following a traffic stop for following another vehicle too closely on I-81.  The driver, who was driving a vehicle with expired Indiana license plates registered to another car, was not able to provide any identification, could not identify the passenger (Juarez-Sanchez), and fumbled through questions about where they were going.  A K- 9 unit was subsequently called, and after the dog alerted for drugs, a search of the vehicle yielded approximately $47,000 in cash, just under two kilograms of fentanyl and one kilogram of heroin, and other indicators of drug smuggling.  Juarez-Sanchez and the driver initially provided false names, however, their fingerprints and photographs matched those taken when they had previously been in United States Border Patrol or ICE custody.  Evidence taken from the two men’s cell phones showed that, before their arrest, they had traveled directly from Burbank, California, where Juarez-Sanchez had obtained seven kilograms of drugs, four kilograms of which he had sold to a buyer in Kentucky the day before his arrest in Maryland for $44,000.  Phone evidence also revealed that the men had conducted a similar trip to California in early July 2020 and transported an unknown quantity of drugs for sale to buyer in a northern suburb of Chicago, Illinois.

Juarez-Sanchez faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum sentence of 40 years in federal prison for the conspiracy and for possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and heroin; and a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for illegally re-entering the United States after deportation.  U.S. District Judge Julie R. Rubin has scheduled sentencing for July 25, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the Maryland State Police, ICE ERO, and DEA for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam K. Ake and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy L. Schwartz, who are prosecuting the case.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.

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