FRESNO – Triggered by a series of overdose incidents in the Fresno area, a meticulous investigation led to a pivotal moment for Abel Lozano, who has now received a substantial sentence for his role in a drug trafficking ring.
Lozano, 29, has been sentenced to 14 years behind bars for his involvement in the distribution of a variety of illicit substances, including fentanyl, fentanyl analogue and methamphetamine. His sentencing was announced by U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert on Oct. 2.
The case traces its roots back to a spate of overdoses in the Fresno area, which were linked to counterfeit oxycodone M30 tablets containing fentanyl, commonly known as “M30s.” This prompted an investigation known as “Operation Killer High,” which aimed at identifying the individuals responsible for distributing these dangerous pills. Investigation exposed a sprawling drug trafficking ring led by Horacio Torrecillas Urias Jr., who went by the moniker of the “M30 king of Fresno.”
According to court documents, in February 2022, authorities received information that Urias intended to deliver a substantial quantity of fentanyl pills to Lozano. Following this tip, federal officers executed a search warrant at Lozano’s residence two days later.
Inside, they discovered over a kilogram of fentanyl analogue, another kilogram of fentanyl mixture, roughly a kilogram of methamphetamine, over 3 kilograms of marijuana and a small amount of cocaine. Lozano admitted during questioning that these drugs were his and that he had been regularly purchasing and selling them in large quantities, even to customers in other states.
Lozano, along with 17 others, faced federal indictment in 2022. Lozano is the first among them to receive a sentence. Marvin Carreno, 24, of Fresno, pleaded guilty today to possession with intent to distribute over 40 grams of fentanyl and is scheduled for sentencing by U.S. District Judge Jennifer L. Thurston on Feb. 12, 2024.
Twelve co-defendants had previously pleaded guilty to charges related to fentanyl or cocaine distribution and are currently awaiting sentencing. These individuals include:
- Henry Cox, 23, of Sanger
- Justin Riddle of Las Cruces, New Mexico
- Erica Ramirez of Fresno
- Alejandro Guzman of Fresno
- Agustin Hernandez of Fresno
- Christian Harris-Blanchette of Fresno
- Oscar Jaramillo-Cortez of Fresno
- Jacob Valles of Fresno
- Cody Fyfe of Fresno
- Juan Valencia Jr. of Fresno
- Amadeo Sarabia Jr. of Fresno
- Alex Garcia of Fresno
Charges are pending against four remaining defendants: Horacio Torrecillas Urias Jr., Alma Garza, Brayan Cruz and Victor Yair Torrecillas-Urias. It’s important to note that charges are merely allegations, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case emerged from the diligent efforts of the Fentanyl Overdose Resolution Team (FORT), a coalition comprising officers from Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, as well as the Fresno and Clovis Police Departments. The prosecution of the case is being led by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin J. Gilio and Laurel J. Montoya.
Operation Synthetic Opioid Surge (S.O.S.), a program aimed at curbing the supply of deadly synthetic opioids in high-impact regions while targeting wholesale distribution networks and domestic and international suppliers, played a pivotal role in this case. The justice department introduced S.O.S. in July 2018, and it’s currently in action across ten federal districts, including the Eastern District of California.
This operation is part of the broader Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) initiative. OCDETF employs a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach to identify, disrupt, and dismantle high-level criminal organizations posing a threat to the United States. More information about the OCDETF Program can be found at www.justice.gov/OCDETF.