DENVER – A Mexican national living in Colorado was sentenced to six years in federal prison Dec. 2, for possession with intent to distribute of nearly 1,400 grams of fentanyl. He was also ordered to forfeit more than $40,000 in cash.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Denver Police Department (DPD). U.S. Attorney Jason R. Dunn, District of Colorado, announced the sentence.
“Fentanyl is a dangerous drug and can be fatal even in tiny amounts,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn. “Denver Police and HSI were able to remove a substantial amount of fentanyl and other drugs from the streets of Metro Denver, likely saving countless lives.”
Investigators with Denver police’s Vice/Narcotics division and special agents with HSI determined Osvaldo Lugo-Escalante, 25, of Sinaloa, Mexico was actively involved in drug distribution activities in the Denver metro area in the spring of 2019.
On June 26, 2019, a confidential informant contacted the defendant to purchase narcotics. After the call the defendant left his Centennial, Colorado apartment and got into his car. DPD uniform officers then initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle as it pulled away from the apartment.
During the subsequent search of the vehicle officers found a Metro PCS box in the driver’s side door compartment, which contained; 1) a clear plastic bag containing 2,048 pills of fentanyl (222.655 grams); 2) a clear plastic bag containing 27.709 grams of cocaine; and 3) a clear plastic bag containing 62.405 grams of heroin.
Later that day officers and agents searched Lugo-Escalante’s apartment. Inside they discovered additional controlled substances, including several clear plastic bags containing 3,418 pills of fentanyl; several clear plastic bags containing 6,806 pills of fentanyl; 501.6 grams of heroin packaged in clear plastic wrap; 250.798 grams of heroin packaged in clear plastic wrap; 506.966 grams of heroin packaged in clear plastic wrap; and several clear plastic bags containing 753.620 grams of cocaine. Investigators also found drug ledgers, a scale, and several bundles of U.S. currency totaling $41,532.
In total, investigators seized 12,272 pills of fentanyl (1,359.693 grams), 1,321.769 grams of heroin, and 781.329 grams of cocaine from the defendant’s vehicle and apartment.
Lugo-Escalante was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver July 11, 2019. He pled guilty before Judge Domenico September 3, 2019. He was sentenced December 2, 2019.
The defendant was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Conor A. Flanigan.