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November 13, 2023Nogales, AZ, United StatesNarcotics

HSI Nogales, CBP case results in 120-month sentence for man who smuggled fentanyl

NOGALES, Ariz. — A Southern Arizona man was sentenced Nov. 2 to 120 months in prison followed by 36 months supervised release for importing fentanyl. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection investigated the case.

“This repeat felon will spend the next decade in prison for attempting to smuggle this deadly drug that has claimed the lives of so many people,” said HSI Arizona Special Agent in Charge Scott Brown. “Let this be a lesson to anyone contemplating smuggling activity: You will be caught, investigated and brought to justice to face the consequences — in this particular case, a lengthy prison sentence.”

Gerardo Hernandez, 40, of Tucson, pleaded guilty on May 5 to importation of fentanyl.

On Dec. 4, 2022, Hernandez, a U.S. citizen, entered the United States from Mexico at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales. He was a passenger in the front seat of a vehicle with 49.9 kilograms of fentanyl concealed inside. Hernandez was aware that the vehicle contained controlled substances and agreed to import them into the United States. The driver was unaware that they were importing controlled substances. Hernandez has 11 prior felony convictions and six prior misdemeanor convictions since 2002.

The fentanyl Hernandez imported was in 30-milligram tablets. Forty-nine kilograms is approximately 1.6 million tablets, or single-use doses, of fentanyl.

The District of Arizona in Tucson handled the prosecution.

HSI is 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. HIS’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HIS’s international presence represents DHS’ largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Updated: 11/13/2023