LOS ANGELES – A San Bernardino County man pleaded guilty today to knowingly selling two fentanyl pills to a 28-year-old man who – hours later – ingested one of the pills and suffered a fatal overdose.
Luis Enrique Diaz, 23, of Victorville, pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death.
United States District Judge Fernando M. Olguin scheduled a March 7, 2024 sentencing hearing, at which time Diaz will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Diaz has been in federal custody since April.
According to his plea agreement, late in the evening on April 9, 2021, Diaz met with the victim – identified in court papers as “R.L.” – in a supermarket parking lot in Victorville. Diaz knowingly sold the victim two blue fentanyl pills.
The victim later ingested one of the pills and died on April 10, 2021.
That same day, law enforcement arrested Diaz and, in his pocket, found a pill bottle that contained approximately 50 blue pills that contained fentanyl. Diaz admitted in his plea agreement to intending to distribute some of those pills.
On April 21, 2021, law enforcement arrested Diaz and searched him. In a bag he possessed, investigators found 454 blue pills that contained fentanyl.
In a related case, Christopher Martin Sanchez, 25, a.k.a. “Chi Chi,” of Hesperia, who allegedly provided Diaz the fentanyl pill that led to R.L.’s death, is charged along with Stephanie Michelle Cruz, 24, of Hesperia, in a six-count indictment alleging, in part, that they distributed the fentanyl that resulted in R.L.’s death.
Sanchez and Cruz are charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death, one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin, and one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. Sanchez faces additional charges of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Sanchez pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and a November 7, 2023 trial date is scheduled in his criminal case. Cruz is in state custody on unrelated charges and has not yet appeared in the federal case.
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Operation OD Justice Task Force and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Overdose Response Team investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Peter H. Dahlquist of the Riverside Branch Office is prosecuting this case.
Source : Justice