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60-year-old suspected Fullerton drug dealer charged in large fentanyl bust

Orange County Register logo Orange County Register 6/24/2022 Sean Emery, The Orange County Register

A suspected Fullerton drug dealer was caught with 24 kilos of fentanyl in his car and home, along with $250,000 worth of fentanyl pills, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced on Friday.

Alfonso Gomez-Santana, 60, is facing several felony counts of drug possession and sale or transport after a California Highway Patrol traffic stop on Wednesday led to the discovery of the large quantity of fentanyl, as well as methamphetamine, according to a DA statement.

An officer who pulled Gomez-Santana over near South Lemon Street and Orangethorpe Avenue found 4 kilos of fentanyl in his car, and a subsequent search of his home led to the discovery of 20 more kilos of fentanyl, $250,000 worth of fentanyl pills and 122 grams of methamphetamine, prosecutors said.

Gomez-Santana pleaded not guilty to the charges during an arraignment on Friday, court records show. If convicted, he faces up to 6 years and 8 months at the Orange County jail.

Local law enforcement officials in recent years have warned of rapid growth in the number of deaths related to fentanyl, which jumped from 36 in 2016 to 636 in 2021, a more than 1600% increase.

Officials warn that 2 milligrams of the synthetic opioid can be enough to kill someone, making it much cheaper and more potent than drugs such as heroin and morphine.

Orange County DA Todd Spitzer has suggested tougher penalties for those involved in creating and selling fentanyl.

“Fentanyl is a national epidemic that killed more than 100,000 Americans last year and it’s not going to stop unless we have the tools as prosecutors to hold these drug dealers and drug manufacturers accountable for peddling death,”  Spitzer said in a statement. “Every parent in America should be petrified that one day they are going to walk into their child’s bedroom and find them dead because their child thought they were experimenting with recreational drugs and instead drug dealers sold them a deadly dose of fentanyl…

This is not fear-mongering; this is reality – and if we don’t start strengthening penalties for drug dealers it’s going to be the reality for you or someone you love,” Spitzer added.

Last year, Spitzer and his counterpart in Riverside, DA Mike Hestrin, announced new policies targeting dealers who sell fentanyl-laced drugs and calling for them to face murder charges if they are involved in a drug sale that results in a death.

Since November, Orange County prosecutors have issued warnings to convicted drug dealers, manufacturers and distributors that if their drug-related activities result in a death they could be charged with second-degree murder.

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