FRESNO, Calif. — Mario Garcia, 28, of Fresno, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to distribute more than 40 grams of fentanyl, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, between Oct. 2 and Dec. 16, 2020, Mario was incarcerated at the Fresno County Jail in an unrelated case. From inside the jail, he used the jail’s telephones to contact his brother Isaiah Garcia, 19, and discuss a plan to distribute counterfeit M30 pills containing fentanyl to Isaiah’s customers. On Dec. 16, 2020, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Isaiah’s residence and seized about 1,200 counterfeit M30 fentanyl pills.
This case was the product of an investigation by FORT, 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 is prosecuting the case.
Mario Garcia is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 29, 2022. He faces a mandatory minimum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a maximum of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will 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.
Charges are pending against Isaiah Garcia for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. The charges are only allegations; he 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.