A 21-year-old facing three drug trafficking charges – for Fentanyl, Methamphetamine and Heroin pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
State Attorney Larry Basford announced Oscar Leiva-Casas, 21, of Los Angeles, Calif., will
have to serve a minimum-mandatory 15 years of that sentence under Florida’s drug trafficking laws. The defendant was headed for trial before entering an open plea of no contest to the trafficking charges before Circuit Court Judge Timothy Register. An open plea means the defendant no longer contests the charges and is leaving the sentencing decision up to the judge.
Prosecutor Nichole Pieper was prepared to present evidence and witnesses proving the defendant was in possession of 12 pounds of Methamphetamine, and 120 grams each of Fentanyl and Heroin, when the vehicle he was in was stopped by authorities Aug. 5, 2021, for a traffic violation.
Sheriff’s Office Inv. Steven Cook was leading an investigation into the importation of drugs into Bay County and developed information that Leiva-Casas was involved in resupplying local dealers. Following a traffic stop by Panama City Beach police, a Sheriff’s Office drug K-9 alerted on the vehicle, indicating it held drugs.
A search turned up 1 pound of Methamphetamine, the Fentanyl, and the Heroin in a backpack the defendant had carried to the vehicle. Another 11 pounds of Methamphetamine were found wrapped individually in a box in the cargo area.
Fentanyl is a powerful narcotic that, because of its strength of tiny doses, is causing overdose deaths across the nation. The 120 grams of Fentanyl seized with this arrest could have caused about 60,000 overdoses, Pieper said.
Basford thanked the Bay County Sheriff’s Office for again working to make arrests and seize drugs before they have a chance to leave the dealers’ hands and reach the streets, and Panama City Beach Police for their assistance.
For more information, contact Mike Cazalas at [email protected], or call 850-381-7454.