A duo from Mexico, both here illegally according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, have been charged in what officials are calling one of the largest heroin, narcotic trafficking cases in the history of the state.
David C. Weiss, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, unsealed two criminal complaints Thursday charging two men with drug trafficking in Delaware.
Julian Rivera-Villa, 56, and Ricardo Perez-Guillen, 40, both operating out of Gloucester City, New Jersey, were charged in federal court in Wilmington in connection with sales of fentanyl-laced fake Oxycodone pills in Delaware, according to court documents.
Perez-Guillen was arrested after selling a kilogram of heroin and 600 fake Oxycodone pills containing fentanyl to an undercover surveillance agent in New Castle, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Delaware stated.
Rivera-Villa was arrested outside the residence he shared with Perez-Guillen in Gloucester City, New Jersey. A subsequent search of that residence yielded approximately 7 additional kilograms of heroin; 3 kilograms of cocaine; 14,000 fake Oxycodone pills that tested positive for the presence of fentanyl and over $28,000 in cash, according to court documents.
Law enforcement also seized another 2 kilograms of heroin from a car registered to Perez-Guillen which were hidden in traps located behind the car’s rear seats.
Both suspects were unlawfully present in the United States at the time of the arrests, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Rivera-Villa was previousiy deported from the United States as an aggravated felon, according to the court documents. He was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) personnel pending further investigation.
The arrests and drug seizures are the result of a long-term investigation into fentanyl and heroin trafficking in Delaware by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (“DEA”) Wilmington Resident Office Tactical Diversion Squad and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (“HIDTA”) Group 41.
The estimated street value of the seized drugs is in excess of $1 million.
U.S. Attorney Weiss noted that this was the largest federal seizure of heroin and fake Oxycodone pills by Delaware law enforcement in recent memory.
“Thousands of fentanyl-laced pills and over 1.4 million doses of heroin have been taken out of the hands of those who would seek to profit from illegally distributing these poisons to our communities,” Weiss said. “Fake Oxycodone pills such as those seized here are especially dangerous, because the pills actually contain fentanyl, a dangerous—and potentially deadly—synthetic opioid.”
Both Rivera-Villa and Perez-Guillen are charged with distribution of fentanyl and face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.
Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squad and HIDTA Group 41 are comprised of investigators from Middletown Police Department, Newark Police Department, New Castle County Police Department, Delaware Alcohol & Tobacco Enforcement, Delaware State Police, Maryland State Police, Wilmington Police Department, Delaware Probation and Parole, Newport Police Department, and the University of Delaware Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alexander Ibrahim.