United States Attorney's Office for the Central District of California

05/07/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/07/2024 17:02

Lake Elsinore Man Who Distributed Fentanyl to Victim Who Took the Drug and Died Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison

LOS ANGELES - A Riverside County man, who admitted to selling fentanyl to a 33-year-old man who ingested the powerful synthetic opioid and suffered a fatal overdose, was sentenced today to 240 months in federal prison.

Sergio Maya, 33, of Lake Elsinore, was sentenced by United States District Judge Mark C. Scarsi, who also ordered him to pay $19,848 in restitution.

Maya pleaded guilty on February 12 to one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. The 20-year prison sentence is the maximum possible penalty under federal law.

On the early morning of May 26, 2022, Maya met the victim - identified in court documents as "C.A." - near the victim's Lake Elsinore apartment and knowingly distributed fentanyl to the victim. Later that day, the victim used the fentanyl Maya had distributed to him and then suffered a fatal overdose.

"The recklessness of this defendant resulted in the victim's untimely death and his loved ones in mourning," said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. "Today's 20-year prison sentence sends a message to drug dealers who kill their customers that my Office will seek and obtain the stiffest penalties under the law."

"We are deeply appreciative of our ongoing partnership with the U.S. Attorney's Office in combating perpetrators who distribute deadly fentanyl within our community," said Riverside County District Attorney Michael A. Hestrin. "Our collaboration with the U.S. Attorney's Office on cases incorporating federal statutes often allows for more significant prison sentences for these dangerous criminals. I extend my sincere gratitude to our dedicated staff for their diligent investigation of the Maya case, and to the U.S. Attorney's Office for their successful prosecution efforts. I hope this verdict brings some measure of closure and justice to the victim's family members."

"The sentencing of this defendant reinforces the steadfast commitment of the DEA and our law enforcement partners to holding individuals accountable for the distribution of illegal drugs poisoning our nation," said Matthew Allen, DEA Special Agent in Charge Los Angeles Field Division. "I am proud of the hard work and driven determination of our Riverside District Office investigators and the entire prosecution team, all of whom work tirelessly every day to keep our communities safe from the fentanyl epidemic."

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Riverside County Sheriff's Office investigated this matter.

Special Assistant United States Attorney Stephen T. Merrill of the Riverside Branch Office prosecuted this case.