A man in the U.S. without documentation who was found with 500,000 fatal doses of fentanyl during a drug deal with a confidential informant last year was sentenced to prison Monday in U.S. District Court in Gulfport.
Judge Sul Ozerden sentenced Pablo Vega-Ontanon to 74 months, or more than 6 years, in prison for possession with intent to distribute heroin, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst of the Southern District of Mississippi and Jere T. Miles, a special agent in charge at Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans.
According to the release, Vega-Ontanon, 53, and two co-defendants arrived in Gulfport to sell heroin to a confidential informant. The three claimed to have 10 kilograms of heroin hidden in their vehicle.
Vega-Ontanon, who is from Mexico but was living in Georgia, was arrested, along with Eder Ortega-Cassarubias and Eric Estudillo-Carrazco.
The drugs in the vehicle were later tested and found to contain 9 kilograms of heroin and 1 kilogram of fentanyl, according to the release.
One kilogram of fentanyl can produce 500,000 fatal doses of the drug, Hurst and Miles said in the release.
Vega-Ontanon will serve five years or supervised release after his prison sentence.
Ortega-Cassarubias was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison on June 26.
Estudillo-Carrazco pleaded guilty to the same charge on August 28, 2019, and Ozerden will sentence him on November 27. He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Meynardie.