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Mexican convicted of drug trafficking and firearm offense by federal jury

Press release from U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A federal jury in Gainesville convicted Edwin Giovanny Mendoza-Verdugo, 20, of Sinaloa, Mexico, on one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, further finding Mendoza-Verdugo responsible for 40-400 grams of fentanyl, and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense. The guilty verdict, returned at the conclusion of a three-day trial, was announced by Jason R. Coody, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

Evidence introduced during the trial revealed Mendoza-Verdugo, along with co-conspirators Helio Rolando Lopez-Elizalde and Jorge Mario Velasquez, conspired to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl pills throughout the Northern District of Florida and elsewhere. The Drug Enforcement Administration, based on a tip from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, began investigating Mendoza-Verdugo and his co-conspirators in April of 2022.

After conducting surveillance, the DEA and ACSO seized fentanyl pills, disguised as marked Oxycodone pills, as well as two pistols, from the three conspirators as part of a traffic interdiction in Alachua County, Florida. Further investigation led to the discovery of a shared hotel room where Mendoza-Verdugo and his co-conspirators stored additional fentanyl pills, an AR-15-style rifle, and multiple boxes of ammunition. Co-conspirators Lopez-Elizalde and Velasquez pled guilty prior to trial and are currently awaiting sentencing.

Mendoza-Verdugo’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 21, 2023, at 10:00 a.m., at the United States Courthouse in Gainesville before United States District Judge Allen C. Winsor. Mendoza-Verdugo faces 10 to 60 years imprisonment, 4 years to life supervised release, and a fine of up to $5,250,000.

This conviction resulted from an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant United States Attorney David P. Byron prosecuted the case.

Our story about the May 2022 arrest of the three men can be found here.

  • Way to set it up for racist comments.. yet again..this paper..smh..

    You could’ve easily just said “man” convicted of..

    Dog Whistle much???

      • But the difference here is you said Mexican, not man from Mexico haha.. it’s inappropriate and very telling for you to defend this

        • Oh get over it. Mexican vs. man from Mexico you’re just splitting hairs and trying very hard to find something to be offended about.

          • I’m not offended at all, however, it is blatant the affect she is trying to grab by naming him a Mexican. Can you not hear the sound and tone when someone says “oh that Mexican” blanket reference to his nationality is inappropriate in the context that she used this and is ridden with racism at its core. Self awareness is important and something you should take a look at. Praying for you!

        • Canadian, American and Mexican are all terms used worldwide to describe residents of those respective countries. You sound like you’d be really fun to hang out with, by the way.

        • Get over it already. A wise person once told me, “offense is taken, not given. One chooses to be offended.”
          It’s time to remember our childhood, sticks and stones…

          • I’m not offended, but it is clearly racist and the tones used are intended to grab and raise those emotions. Self awareness is important and how our actions and words affect our neighbors is important. Jesus washed the feet of a woman and and didn’t have to call her a whore or a Mexican. I choose to live like Jesus and I’m praying for you.

          • I’m pretty sure there are some on this medium who would disagree with your self-assessment of not being offended. I hope you are never called on to be a witness to a crime, it will be pretty difficult for LEOs to determine what kind of vehicle it was that ran over a pedestrian if all you use to describe it is it was a vehicle and it had at least 4 tires.
            I do appreciate your praying for me, I need all the help I can get.

    • I don’t want to speak for her, but I think Jennifer is probably half-Cuban. Your cries of anti-Hispanic racism sound misguided. He’s a Mexican! Selling fentanyl makes him a low down, dirty dog of a Mexican. Have a good cry.

      • Hey Lyn. How about keep them here in prison til they’re old men then hand them over to ice to send them back to where they came from. Otherwise they’ll be right back and without learning a lesson from their mistakes.

    • Geezus, you could have changed the channel.

      Instead, the whistle blew and you answered.

    • I know that living in Gainesvillecisco makes it hard to point out race and nationality, but in the real world, he’s Mexican. How hard is that to say? He’s from Mexico. That makes him
      Mexican!

      • NPR might choose the more culturally sensitive term Mexicano, which means a Mexican national regardless of how they look. He seems to look like a Mexican and come from Mexico, so he covers all the bases. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard the term Sinaloan cartels. That’s what he is, and right here in Gainesville. Thanks, Brandon. I doubt they carried around an assault rifle and lots of ammunition if they weren’t ready to use it. Someone with a working brain (a non-woke person) probably thought they looked suspicious and tipped off the police.

    • “why did you have to say ‘AL-QAEDA TERRORISTS flew planes into the world trade center’? Why couldn’t you just say ‘RANDOM STRANGERS’? You must be RAYCIST!!”

      What a childish complaint.

      • I’m so sick of hearing the word racist used every time someone disagrees with someone else I could just spit.

        The word has been so over used and misused as to be meaningless at this point.

    • Hey Mayor (or Mayor elect, or one of 3 worthless GNV CC), there is a rope waiting for you to P*ss Up! If you don’t know the rest of the letters for P*ss, call your interpreter hotline!

      A “guy” is out there trying to kill you, your children, and anyone else he can hook, with his fentanyl and YOU are worried because he was called by the country of his origin?

      The worst part of this “incident” is that us Good Ole American Taxpayers may end up paying for this piece of sh*t drug pusher to live a comfy life in a Federal, or State, prison!

    • Illegal alien, 400grams of fentanyl disguised as oxy pills, two pistols, a semiautomatic rifle with multiple boxes of ammunition and yet, you’re worried about the descriptor “Mexican”?!(which happens to be accurate btw). SMH. Your full useful idiocy is on display for all to see.

  • I don’t care where he is from. Manufacture or distribution of intentionally mis-marked fentanyl should be charged as attempted murder; one count per pill. And if a connection can be made to a death it should be upgraded to murder.

  • Even Brandon’s feds know how to handle common criminals, illegal border crossers too? No “welcoming” yard signs on the federal courthouse lawn??
    Why can’t our county and civil courthouses take crime seriously? Repeat offenders would be a good start

  • Didn’t someone once say…. “Mexico’s not sending us their best”. But….but….but….”the border is secure” right? Still can’t believe there are enough stupid people voting to became a third world country.

  • I think they were simply trying to imply the gang drug trade association with the Sinola, Mexican ethnicity and location. Nothing wrong with including facts and details in the article.

  • As a Mexican, I found this headline hilarious. People need to go outside and play or something. The country is NOT racist. Ms Cabrera is a reliable journalist. With a LATINO last name.

  • Oh dear, someone got their feelings hurt again. Maybe some of you offended sorts should travel to Mexico and tell the cartel we are sorry for offending their buddy. Grow up

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