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Middletown man sentenced in fentanyl trafficking conspiracy tied to Sinaloa cartel

Police said the man’s arrest caused Middletown opioid overdoses to drop more than 30 percent.
Fentanyl is about 50 times more potent than heroin and up to 100 times more potent than morphine.
Fentanyl is about 50 times more potent than heroin and up to 100 times more potent than morphine.(Hawaii News Now/file)
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 4:28 PM EST
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CINCINNATI, (FOX19) - A Middletown man will spend the next 25 years behind bars for his role in a narcotics conspiracy tied to the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico.

US District Attorney Kenneth Parker announced the sentencing Wednesday afternoon.

Donte Holdbrook pleaded guilty in 2018 to his role in the conspiracy.

Holdbrook was one of 12 individuals indicted in March of that year on federal charges relating to narcotics and money laundering.

Members of the group allegedly distributed Mexica-manufactured fentanyl in Middletown and sent proceeds back to the Sinaloa cartel.

The operation trafficked more than $1 million in fentanyl and heroin in Greater Cincinnati, according to the DOJ.

Holdbrook was found in possession of 366 grams of fentanyl during a traffic stop on Dec. 2, 2017.

The DEA classifies two milligrams of fentanyl as a lethal dose.

After Holdbrook, then 24, was arrested, fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses in Middletown fell by approximately one third, according to Middletown police.

The investigation began when undercover FBI agents in San Diego learned that a known Sinaloa Cartel money-laundering boss, Jose Lopez-Albarran, coordinated and conducted multiple bulk cash pickups from a drug trafficking organization within the Southern District of Ohio.

Lopez-Albarran was one of 40 defendants charged in the Southern District of California, specifically San Diego.

He and other cartel members allegedly laundered tens of millions of dollars in narcotics proceeds to Mexico 2015-18, according to those charging documents.

The investigation into Lopez-Albarran uncovered multiple drug-trafficking cells throughout the US, including the one in which Holdbrook was involved.

Holdbrook used Lopez-Albarran to send the proceeds of his drug activity back to Mexico, the DOJ says.

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