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California deputy caught with more than 520,000 fentanyl pills may have ties to drug cartel, investigators say
Craig Kohlruss/The Fresno Bee/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

California deputy caught with more than 520,000 fentanyl pills may have ties to drug cartel, investigators say

A California sheriff's deputy was charged with two felonies on Monday after it was discovered that he was reportedly carrying more than 100 pounds of fentanyl in his vehicle. Prosecutors allege that the deputy may have ties to a Mexican drug cartel.

Jorge Oceguera-Rocha, 25, was charged with one felony count of possessing fentanyl for sale and transporting narcotics, per USA Today. He was also charged with being armed with a firearm during a drug offense, which could mean that he faces more time in prison if he is convicted.

Oceguera-Rocha reportedly resigned after being pulled over on September 17. He pleaded not guilty during a court appearance on Monday in Banning, which is about 80 miles from Los Angeles.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department released a statement on September 21, stating the investigation into Oceguera-Rocha "came to a successful conclusion when a traffic stop was conducted on Interstate 10 at County Line Road, in Calimesa by a deputy from the SIB Domestic Highway Enforcement Team."

"After a K9 alerted to the presence of narcotics within the vehicle, a search was conducted. Located in the vehicle was more than 100 pounds of packaged fentanyl pills (M30’s). Also located in the vehicle was a loaded handgun. Oceguera-Rocha was arrested and subsequently booked into the Cois Byrd Detention Center. During the investigation, it was determined that Oceguera-Rocha was not smuggling narcotics into the Riverside County jail system as previously stated in un-verified news articles."

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department requested that Oceguera-Rocha's bail be increased to $5 million shortly after he was arrested, noting that it was possible he would be a flight risk due to a possible connection to a Mexican drug network.

Investigators reportedly intercepted Oceguera-Rocha's phone calls on September 16 and learned that he intended to go to an "identified narcotic stash location" in Victorville, investigator Joshua Ricard wrote in an affidavit.

Around 1:00 p.m. that same day, investigators spotted Oceguera-Rocha driving around Banning and then, a couple hours later, spotted him again in San Bernadino County.

Oceguera-Rocha eventually made it home in Victorville around 3:00 p.m., and he reportedly made a phone call to a family member. Then he allegedly went into his garage and came out about 10 minutes later.

Investigators reportedly followed him as he made his way back to Banning, and he was eventually pulled over after a "narcotics detection interdiction deputy" carried out a traffic stop, according to Ricard. He added that a trained dog was alerted to the possible presence of narcotics within the vehicle.

"Inside the trunk of the vehicle, deputies located four trash bags all containing square shaped (packages) wrapped in clear cellophane," the affidavit said. "Further examination of the packages revealed they all contained a bulk quantity of blue fentanyl laced M30 pills."

The package reportedly weighed more than 100 pounds and contained about 520,000 pills. The pills were subsequently tested and confirmed to be fentanyl. There was also a loaded handgun that was found in a bag in the back seat of the vehicle.

"Based on his employment with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, your affiant knows Oceguera-Rocha has knowledge of the dangers of fentanyl and the mass overdose pandemic," the filing reads, according the report.

"Your affiant estimates the quantity he was in possession of at the time of his arrest is enough to kill approximately 2 million people."

However, authorities do not believe Oceguera-Rocha was dealing drugs while he was on duty or in the jails, where he previously worked in transportation.

If Oceguera-Rocha is convicted, he could face 10 years in prison.

Riverside County Correctional Deputy arrested with 104 pounds of fentanylwww.youtube.com

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