California man gets 18 years for trafficking fentanyl into Southwest Virginia

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ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) – A man from Buena Park, California was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to funneling thousands of fentanyl pills into Southwest Virginia.

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Robert Contreras, 24, also known as “Quill,” previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

The DOJ reports Contreras supplied “as many as 30,000 pressed fentanyl pills a week” to people who then shipped the pills to Southwest Virginia.

Contreras was sentenced to 18 years on Thursday. He was also ordered to forfeit five firearms and $31,294 in cash.

Contreras reportedly sold between 10,000 and 30,000 fentanyl pills at a time to a co-conspirator once a week or more. Those transactions took place between 2020 and 2023, court documents state. Some weeks saw multiple pill sales between Contreras and the co-conspirator, identified by the DOJ as Marco Orozco.

“The pills were then shipped from California to Southwest Virginia and other locations across the country for further distribution,” a news release from the DOJ states. “Specifically, Orozco’s sub-distributors used various social media platforms to facilitate their drug trade.”

A search warrant was executed at Contreras’ home in California on March 6, 2023. Officers found more than 1,600 pressed fentanyl pills, five firearms without serial numbers and $31,294 in cash. The DOJ reports officers also found thousands of alprazolam and Adderall pills, 242 grams of cocaine and other hallucinogenic narcotics.

“Fentanyl, especially in the form of pressed pills, is taking its toll on America, and Virginia is no exception. This case, involving the collaboration of law enforcement agencies across the country, is a prime example of the proactive measures undertaken by this Department of Justice to combat the burgeoning pressed pill epidemic currently plaguing our nation,” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said in the release. “We will investigate, prosecute and hold accountable those who profit by poisoning our communities, and – as exhibited here – we will work up the chain of drug traffickers as far and wide as possible to bring them to account.”

In addition to multiple federal and California agencies, the Wise County Sheriff’s Office, Norton Police Department and Southwest Virginia Drug Task Force investigated the case.

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