Man sentenced for distributing fentanyl pills that resulted in Monterey County death

Peninsula Premier Admin

A former employee of a Mexican pharmacy has been sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison for distributing fentanyl-laced pills that killed a resident of Monterey County.

Francisco Javier Schraidt Rodriguez, 63, was charged with the distribution of fentanyl and with a conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and alprazolam in a superseding information filed in March. He pleaded guilty to both charges in April.

From June 2018 through November 2019, Rodriguez conspired with others to sell, and did sell, counterfeit pharmaceutical pills containing fentanyl, as well as bottles of alprazolam (U.S. brand name Xanax) packaged as “Farmapram,” he admitted in his plea agreement.

During the conspiracy, Rodriguez lived in Mexico and worked at a Mexicali-based pharmacy, while his co-conspirator was located in Monterey County, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of California.

On multiple occasions, Rodriguez’s co-conspirator ordered bottles of alprazolam and fentanyl-laced “M30” pills. M30 tablets are round and often light blue in color, though they come in many other colors. Meant to mimic Oxycodone, “M” is imprinted on one side of the pill and “30” imprinted on the other.

Upon receiving an order, Rodriguez transported the drugs from Mexicali, Mexico, and across the United States border to Calexico, California. He then shipped the drugs by mail to his co-conspirator’s address in Monterey County. Rodriguez mailed the M30s in approximately 100 pills at a time, often fronting the pills and accepting payment at a later date after his co-conspirator had resold the drugs.

Rodriguez acknowledged in his plea agreement that when he sold the M30s, he knew the pills contained fentanyl. His co-conspirator also knew what the pills were laced with, as they asked Rodriguez if the M30s contained fentanyl and he advised that they did, according to federal prosecutors.

Now the leading cause of drug overdose deaths in the United States, Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Non-prescribed fentanyl is being sold on Snapchat and Instagram as counterfeit pills like Percocet, Xanax and Oxycontin. Nearly half of all counterfeit pills tested contained a lethal dose of fentanyl, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Many who take counterfeit pills cut with fentanyl are unaware that they were ingesting a deadly dose of the drug.

Rodriguez admitted the M30 pills he sold killed a victim who overdosed on his pills. He described in his plea agreement that between August 2019 and Sept. 5, 2019, he sold M30 pills containing fentanyl to his Monterey County co-conspirator. He acknowledged that some of those M30s were then sold to the Monterey County victim, who ingested some portion of one or more of the fentanyl-laced tablets, which caused an overdose.

The victim was found unconscious in his home. He died as a result of the overdose. The victim left behind a spouse and a young son.

In addition to his seven-and-a-half-year federal prison term, Rodriguez has also been ordered to serve three years of supervision following his release. Rodriguez was remanded into custody at the sentencing hearing earlier this week to begin serving his sentence immediately.

Contributed by local news sources

Next Post

Monterey Peninsula College to hold dedication ceremony for Pappas-Phillips Community Stadium

MONTEREY — Luke Phillips and Chris Pappas met more than six decades ago at San Jose State, two guys in their 20s who were assistant football coaches at the college with future coaching legends Bill Walsh and Dick Vermeil. Phillips and Pappas likely could have become national coaching figures as […]