Additional Arrests Made in Fentanyl Distribution Conspiracy Spanning from California to D.C.

Additional Arrests Made in Fentanyl Distribution Conspiracy Spanning from California to D.C.

            WASHINGTON – Federal law enforcement arrested an additional two members of a fentanyl distribution conspiracy responsible for bringing thousands of fake blue Oxycodone (M30) pills, containing fentanyl, from California to Washington D.C., announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, and DEA Special Agent in Charge Jarod Forget, of the Washington Division, and Chief Robert J. Contee, III, of the Metropolitan Police Department.  

            Max Alexander Carias Torres, 25, and Raymond Nava, Jr., 19, each of Los Angeles, California, are charged in an indictment with conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing fentanyl. Carias Torres is separately charged with international money laundering. Both men were arrested in Los Angeles, California, on April 26, 2023, and were ordered detained pending trial by United States District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on April 28, 2023. Three additional members of the conspiracy who were previously arrested, Hector David Valdez, Craig Eastman, and Charles Jeffrey Taylor, also remain detained without bond pending trial.

            According to the indictment, from on or about January 2021 to April 2023, Carias Torres, Nava, Valdez, Taylor, and Eastman conspired together to distribute 400 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing fentanyl.  Carias Torres is also alleged to have conspired to commit international promotional money laundering in connection with proceeds derived from the drug trafficking conspiracy.

            Carias Torres was arrested inside his residence in Los Angeles, California on April 26, 2023. During a search of his residence, law enforcement recovered approximately a half-kilogram of suspected methamphetamine, numerous fake blue Oxycodone (M30) pills, and drug ledgers. Valdez was arrested on February 24, 2023, in the Central District of California. During a search of his residence, law enforcement recovered over 4.4 kilograms of blue M30 pills and a half-kilogram brick of powder, which tested positive for fentanyl. Valdez was ordered detained pending trial and is currently being transferred to the District of Columbia for prosecution. On March 22, 2023, law enforcement arrested Taylor and Eastman inside Taylor’s residence and seized seven firearms while executing a search warrant.

            The drug trafficking conspiracy charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison up to life; the money laundering conspiracy charge carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. The sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

            The investigation of this case had the sponsorship and support of the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). OCDETF specializes in the investigation and prosecution of drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and related criminal enterprises.

            The prosecutions followed a joint investigation by the DEA Washington Division in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the U.S. Postal Inspector, with additional support from the DEA Los Angeles and Riverside Field Offices. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David T. Henek, Matthew W. Kinskey, and Andy Wang of the Violence Reduction and Trafficking Offenses (VRTO) Section.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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