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October 20, 2022Nogales, AZ, United StatesNarcotics

3 individuals charged for distributing over 400,000 fentanyl pills, 25 pounds of methamphetamine following HSI Nogales investigation

PHOENIX – Three men were indicted Oct. 4, on conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and methamphetamine along with using or carry a firearm during a drug trafficking offense, following an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Keivin Crosswell-Cervantes, 28, of Mexico; Carlos Alberto Castro-Ruiz, 27, of Avondale; and Alexander Ortega-Islas, 22, of Phoenix, had their initial appearance on Sept. 23, before United States Magistrate Judge Eileen S. Willett.

On Sept. 21, HSI special agents arrested Crosswell-Cervantes, Castro-Ruiz, and Ortega-Islas and seized approximately 410,000 blue fentanyl pills, approximately 20,000 multi-colored fentanyl pills, also known as “skittles,” and approximately 25 pounds of methamphetamine in Avondale. During the enforcement action, HSI special agents also seized an AK-47 style pistol, a Kimber 1911 45 caliber pistol with two magazines, and an FN 45 caliber pistol.

A conviction for conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and methamphetamine carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison with a maximum penalty of life in prison, a fine of up to $10,000,000, or both.

A conviction for use or carry a firearms during a drug trafficking offense carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, with a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.

An indictment is merely an allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence. An individual is presumed innocent until evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew G. Eltringham, District of Arizona, Tucson, OCDETF Section, is handling the prosecution.

HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Updated: 10/20/2022