LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Rigoberto Calderon-Molina, 40, of Earlimart, California, pleaded guilty Monday to possession with the intent to distribute nearly 2.9 pounds Fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Daniel Neill of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Calderon-Molina was indicted by a federal grand jury in May 2018. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled before U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey on November 16, 2020.
According to court documents, on April 25, 2018, Calderon-Molina met an individual in a North Las Vegas parking lot to sell 1.3 kilograms (nearly 2.9 pounds) of Fentanyl, which is a Schedule II controlled substance. Law enforcement arrested Calderon-Molina and seized approximately 13,000 Fentanyl pills.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug that is approximately 80-100 times more potent than morphine, and is commonly added to heroin to increase its potency. Fentanyl poses a high risk of death not only to users, but also to law enforcement since the drug may be ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. A few milligrams, which is equivalent to a few grains of table salt, may be deadly. Users may believe that they are purchasing heroin without knowing that they are actually purchasing Fentanyl – which often results in overdose deaths.
Calderon-Molina faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. The sentencing of a defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This case was the product of an investigation by the DEA.