Investigators say that a California deputy recently apprehended with over 520,000 fentanyl pills may be connected to a drug cartel.
After being pulled over on September 17, Oceguera-Rocha reportedly resigned and pleaded not guilty during a court appearance in Banning, located approximately 80 miles from Los Angeles, on Monday.
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.”
Following Oceguera-Rocha’s arrest, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department asked that his bail be upped to $5 million, citing the possibility of him fleeing due to a possible association with a Mexican drug ring. On September 16, investigators intercepted Oceguera-Rocha’s phone calls and discovered he had plans to go to an alleged drug storage site in Victorville.
At approximately 1:00 p.m., investigators observed Oceguera-Rocha driving in the vicinity of Banning. Later that afternoon, he was seen again in San Bernadino County.
Subsequently, at around 3:00 p.m., he returned to his residence in Victorville where he reportedly phoned a family member and then went into his garage for roughly 10 minutes before coming out again.
Investigators reportedly tracked him as he drove to Banning, and a “narcotics detection interdiction deputy” eventually stopped him during a traffic stop. Ricard stated that a trained dog then indicated the probable presence of drugs in his car.
“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.”
It was reported that the package weighed over 100 pounds and included around 520,000 pills, which were tested and determined to be fentanyl. Additionally, a loaded handgun was found in a bag on 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.”
Despite this, authorities do not think Oceguera-Rocha was peddling drugs while he was on duty or in the jails where he used to be employed in transportation.
If convicted, Oceguera-Rocha will face a sentence of 10 years imprisonment.