(U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of California) — Wednesday, August 31, 2022
SAN JOSE – Francisco Javier Schraidt Rodriguez was sentenced Monday to 90 months (7½ years) in federal prison for distributing fentanyl-laced pills that killed a resident of Monterey County, California, announced United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Wade R. Shannon. The sentence was handed down by United States District Judge Edward J. Davila.
Schraidt Rodriguez, 63, formerly of Mexicali, Mexico, was charged in a superseding information filed on March 25, 2022, with the distribution of fentanyl and with a conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and alprazolam. He entered a plea agreement and pleaded guilty to both charges on April 11, 2022.
In his plea agreement, Schraidt Rodriguez admitted that from June 2018 through November 2019 he conspired with others to sell and did sell counterfeit pharmaceutical pills containing fentanyl. The fentanyl-laced pills were colored light blue and imprinted with “M” on one side and “30” on the other. These pills are commonly referred to as “M30s.” Schraidt Rodriguez also conspired to sell and did sell bottles of alprazolam (U.S. brand name: Xanax) packaged as “Farmapram.”
Schraidt Rodriguez described in the plea agreement that during the conspiracy, he lived in Mexico and worked at a pharmacy in Mexicali, Mexico. His co-conspirator was located in Monterey County, California. On multiple occasions his co-conspirator ordered bottles of alprazolam and M30 pills containing fentanyl from Schraidt Rodriguez. Upon receiving an order, Schraidt Rodriguez transported the drugs from Mexicali, Mexico, across the United States border to Calexico, California. He then shipped the drugs by mail to his co-conspirator’s address in Monterey County. Schraidt Rodriguez described that he mailed the M30s in batches of approximately 100 pills at a time. He often “fronted” the pills, accepting payment at a later date after the co-conspirator had resold the drugs to others.
Schraidt Rodriguez acknowledged in his plea agreement that when he sold the M30 pills to his co-conspirator, he knew the M30s contained fentanyl. His co-conspirator also knew this, as the co-conspirator asked him if the M30s contained fentanyl and Schraidt Rodriguez advised that they did.
Schraidt 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 September 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. Schraidt Rodriguez admitted that the victim ingested some portion of one or more of the M30 pills laced with fentanyl, which caused an overdose in the victim. The victim was found unconscious in the victim’s home. He died as a result of the overdose. The victim left behind a spouse and a young son.
In addition to the 90 month federal prison term, United States District Judge Edward J. Davila ordered Schraidt Rodriguez to serve three years of supervision following release from federal prison. Schraidt Rodriguez was remanded into custody at the sentencing hearing to begin serving his sentence immediately.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christina Liu and Casey Boome, with the assistance of Mark DiCenzo, Linda Love, and Andy Ding. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by DEA, with assistance from the Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations; the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations; the Pacific Grove Police Department; the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office; and the Monterey Police Department.
One Pill Can Kill: Beware of pills bought on the street. Fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled substance, is a highly potent opiate that can be diluted with cutting agents to create counterfeit pills that purport to mimic the effects of Oxycodone, Percocet, and other drugs and can typically be obtained at a lower cost than the genuine drugs. However, very small variations in the amount or quality of fentanyl creates huge effects on the potency of the counterfeit pills and can easily have lethal consequences. Fentanyl has now become the leading cause of drug overdose deaths in the United States. Counterfeit, fentanyl-laced pills are commonly shaped and colored to resemble pills that are sold legitimately at pharmacies. For example, counterfeit pills known as M30s mimic Oxycodone but routinely contain fentanyl. These tablets are round and often light blue in color, though they come in many other colors, and have “M” and “30” imprinted on opposite sides of the pill.
This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
Updated August 31, 2022