An undercover sting by federal investigators led to three drug-traffickers in the Inland Empire being indicted on suspicion of distributing nearly 26,000 pills containing carfentanyl, a powerful elephant tranquilizer, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California announced Thursday.
The drug — used as a tranquilizer for elephants and other large mammals — is a powerful fentanyl analogue that’s “many times more potent” than heroin or fentanyl itself, federal prosecutors said in a news release.
This is the first case of carfentanyl distribution being charged in federal court in the Central District of California, prosecutors said.
The three people named in the indictment include Jose Jesus Camacho-Martinez, 32, of Downey and Fontana residents Alejandra Romero-Agredano, 49, and Jorge Martin, 27, prosecutors said. Each faces a minimum of 10 years in federal prison if they’re convicted or maximum sentences of life in prison.
They were arrested on Sept. 7 following an undercover sting by agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Those agents negotiated having the thousands of pills delivered to the Inland Empire with a co-conspirator based in Mexico, federal prosecutors said. Romero-Agredano coordinated distribution of the drugs as she worked with Camacho-Martinez and Martin to deliver three separate shipments to the undercover agents, prosecutors said.
Martin is expected to be arraigned on Sept. 26 while Romero-Agredano will face her arraignment on Oct. 3 and Camacho-Martinez will be arraigned on Oct. 11.
The Fontana and Ontario police departments helped DEA agents investigate the case. No other details were released by prosecutors.