A judge sentenced a Mexican national busted for trafficking cocaine and fentanyl on a flight to Connecticut to three years in prison.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer handed down the ruling Friday after Jesus Gomez-Valdivia pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and re-entry of a removed alien. Authorities found Gomez-Valdivia was previously deported in 2001 before returning to the U.S. illegally, reports the New Haven Register.
Agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration arrested Gomez-Valdivia in October 2017 after receiving a tip he would smuggle drugs on a flight from Los Angeles bound for Tweed New Haven Airport in Connecticut.
Authorities apprehended Gomez-Valdivia in baggage claim after finding two kilos of cocaine and more than a pound of fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid roughly 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. (RELATED: Historic Drug Bust Yields Enough Fentanyl To Cause Nearly 30 Million Deaths)
Following his three-year stint in prison authorities say Gomez-Valdivia will be deported back to Mexico.
Large quantities of narcotics, particularly synthetic opioids like fentanyl, continue to infiltrate the U.S. due to the relentless efforts of traffickers. However, the Department of Justice under Attorney General Jeff Sessions is gaining ground against drug movers taking advantage of America’s opioid scourge.
“Fentanyl is the number-one killer drug in the United States today,” Sessions said in a statement April 27.
A recent report from Democratic Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill shows that fentanyl seizures by Border Patrol agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection increased by 72 percent in 2017. The number of overall opioid seizures nearly doubled from 579 pounds in 2013 to 1,135 pounds in 2017, a reflection of the deteriorating addiction crisis in the U.S.
Drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death for Americans under age 50, killing more than 64,000 people in 2016.
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