Mexican Cartel-Linked Fentanyl Operation Busted in Delaware, Say Feds

Fentanyl pills seized in Phoenix. (File Photo: Drug Enforcement Administration)
File Photo: Drug Enforcement Administration

A fentanyl and heroin operation in Delaware was busted in a multi-agency investigative effort, resulting in the arrests of two Mexican nationals residing illegally in the United States. Roughly 22 pounds of heroin, 14,000 fake Oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl (Mexican-Oxy), 6.5 pounds of cocaine, and $28,000 were also seized, according to recently unsealed court documents.

A long-term investigation into a suspected Mexican cartel-connected fentanyl and heroin trafficking organization came to an end last week. David C. Weiss, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced criminal charges against Julian Rivera-Villa, 56, and Ricardo Perez-Guillen, 40, who both were residing in Gloucester City, New Jersey.

According to a DOJ release, defendants were charged last week in connection with sales of fentanyl-laced fake Oxycodone pills heroin. Rivera-Villa was arrested outside a residence in Gloucester City, New Jersey, that the shared with co-defendant Perez-Guillen. A subsequent search reportedly led to the discovery of seven kilograms of heroin, three kilograms of cocaine, and 14,000 fake Oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl. An additional two kilograms of heroin were concealed inside a hidden compartment behind the rear seat of a vehicle registered to Perez-Guillen, say authorities.

“Thousands of fentanyl-laced pills and over 1.4 million doses of heroin have been taken out of the hands of those who would seek to profit from illegally distributing these poisons to our communities. Fake Oxycodone pills such as those seized here are especially dangerous because the pills actually contain fentanyl, a dangerous—and potentially deadly—synthetic opioid,” said U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss. The estimated street value of the seized drugs was listed at over $1 million.

The DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squad and HIDTA Group 41 is a multi-agency group made up of investigative personnel from Middletown Police Department, Newark Police Department, New Castle County Police Department, Delaware Alcohol & Tobacco Enforcement, Delaware State Police, Maryland State Police, Wilmington Police Department, Delaware Probation and Parole, Newport Police Department, and the University of Delaware Police Department.

Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.) You can follow him on Twitter. He can be reached at


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