NEW YORK, NY. – RICHARD MENDOZA was charged in an indictment with conspiring to distribute fentanyl on behalf of a drug trafficking organization. MENDOZA was charged by complaint and arrested in Arizona on September 23, 2020, after law enforcement found approximately nine kilograms of fentanyl packaged and hidden inside of the exhaust system of the vehicle that MENDOZA was driving. MENDOZA will be presented and arraigned at a later date upon his arrival in this district.
According to the allegations in the Complaint and Indictment:
Beginning in or about June, law enforcement identified RICHARD MENDOZA as an individual who was working to coordinate shipments of fentanyl to New York on behalf of a drug trafficking organization. On or about September 16, 2020, law enforcement intercepted phone calls on which MENDOZA was preparing to receive a truck that had been pre-loaded with narcotics by other members of the drug trafficking organization. On or about September 17, 2020, MENDOZA was the driver and sole occupant of a truck that was ultimately stopped and searched by law enforcement. During the search, law enforcement found approximately nine kilograms of fentanyl that were packaged and hidden inside the vehicle’s exhaust system.
MENDOZA, 50, of Desert Hot Springs, California, is charged with one count of conspiring to distribute fentanyl, which carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.