Man pleads guilty in attempt to sell nearly 3 pounds of fentanyl

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Tablets believed to be laced with fentanyl are displayed at the Drug Enforcement Administration Northeast Regional Laboratory on October 8, 2019 in New York. – According to US government data, about 32,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2018. That accounts for 46 percent of all fatal overdoses. Fentanyl, a powerful painkiller approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for a range of conditions, has been central to the American opioid crisis which began in the late 1990s. (Photo by Don EMMERT / AFP) (Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A man who tried to sell nearly three pounds of fentanyl in a North Las Vegas parking lot pleaded guilty Monday to charges that carry a maximum 20-year prison sentence and a possible $1 million fine.

Rigoberto Calderon-Molina, 40, of Earlimart, California — a small town between Bakersfield and Fresno — was charged with possession with the intent to distribute the deadly drug, according to the US Attorney’s Office.

Calderon-Molina is scheduled for sentencing before US District Judge Jennifer Dorsey on Nov. 16.

Law enforcement agents arrested Calderon-Molina on April 25, 2018, and seized about 13,000 fentanyl pills — 1.3 kilograms.

Fentanyl is a a synthetic opioid that can be 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine, federal authorities said. The drug poses a high risk of death not only to users, but also to law enforcement since the drug may be ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin.

A few milligrams — equivalent to a few grains of table salt — may be deadly, authorities said. Users may believe that they are purchasing heroin without knowing that they are actually purchasing fentanyl, often resulting in overdose deaths.

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