Cali. man pleads guilty to fentanyl trafficking in Conn.
DERBY — A California man faces up to 20 years in prison for a drug trafficking charge after he pleaded guilty on Thursday, the Department of Justice said.
Omar Villarreal, 27, of La Punte, California, pleaded guilty in Hartford court to one count of aiding and abetting the possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute and one count of traveling in interstate commerce to promote an unlawful activity.
Court records showed that law enforcement officers stopped a tractor trailer on Route 34 in Derby on Dec. 21, 2016, and searched the cab of the truck. The search led police to find a package with 25 kilograms of fentanyl.
The driver of the truck, Erick Crespo-Escalante, was arrested. An investigation showed that he planned to deliver the shipment to Waterbury.
In court, Villarreal admitted he came to Connecticut from California in Oct. 2016 to oversee the shipment of the narcotics in the state. During that time, Villarreal lived at a residence in Waterbury for about two months. His Waterbury home was established as a “stash” house where the shipment could be delivered, the DOJ said.
After going back to California, Villarreal spoke to Crespo-Escalante on the phone several times to arrange the tractor trailer delivery in December.
Crespo-Escalante pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, fentanyl on April 4, 2017. He awaits sentencing.
Villarreal’s first charge carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison. The second charge has a maximum term of five years in prison.
He has been detained since his arrest on May 15, 2017. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 28.