A former Border Patrol Agent received concurrent prison sentences for smuggling and conspiring to distribute an ingredient in fentanyl, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Friday.
A judge sentenced Cesar Daleo, 49, of Chula Vista, to 30 months in custody Thursday for conspiracy to distribute 4ANPP, the primary ingredient for manufacturing fentanyl, according to prosecutors. He entered a guilty plea last year.
He also received a 24-month sentence for conspiracy to smuggle a dried sea cucumber called Isostichopus fuscus on at least 80 separate occasions over a two-year period.
According to prosecutors, on Aug. 11, 2017, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent at Los Angeles International Airport intercepted a package from China containing 4ANPP. Prosecutors say Homeland Security Investigations agents replaced the 4ANPP with “a harmless substance.”
On Aug. 29, 2017, investigators caught Daleo picking up the package in San Ysidro. They arrested Daleo trying to drive into Mexico with the parcel.
From 2014-16, Daleo also paid another person to smuggle the sea cucumber, in amounts valued in excess of $250,000. into the U.S. Prosecutors said the contraband was “the only species of sea cucumber found in Mexico that is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.”
U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer said it was “a fitting sentence for a former law enforcement agent who knew the dangers of drugs like fentanyl, yet did not hesitate to hand them out, for a price. Now it is he who will pay a price for distributing a drug that destroys lives, families and communities.”
– City News Service