Riverside County Deputy’s Fentanyl Arrest Linked to Sinaloa Cartel

Riverside County Deputy’s Fentanyl Arrest Linked to Sinaloa Cartel

Jorge Oceguera-Rocha worked at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning. (Riverside County Sheriff’s Department)

California Insider Staff

California Insider Staff

4/30/2024

Updated: 4/30/2024

When a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy was arrested in September with 104 pounds of fentanyl in his private car, authorities did not reveal what led them to him.
An April 25 news release by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration connected the dots, according to The Press-Enterprise, a Southern California newspaper.
The statement announced the arrests of 15 people in a months-long investigation called Operation Hotline Bling, along with the seizure of meth, fentanyl, cocaine, and firearms. It also referred to “a corrupt Riverside County correctional deputy “in possession of 104 pounds of fentanyl pills.”
A Riverside police spokesman told The Press-Enterprise that the deputy was the one arrested in September: Jorge Oceguera-Rocha.
Operation Hotline Bling targeted a Sinaloa cartel led at one point by the notorious drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. It started in March 2023 and resulted in “significant drug seizures” this month that prevented possibly 10 million lethal doses of methamphetamine and fentanyl in the U.S., the Drug Enforcement Administration said in a press release.
The drugs were estimated to be worth around $16 million in the streets, authorities said.
Oceguera-Rocha was working at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, but a spokeswoman for the Riverside County district attorney said the former deputy is not accused of smuggling drugs into the jail, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
Oceguera-Rocha resigned after his September 2023 arrest, according to media reports, but pleaded not guilty to felony charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance for sale.
 
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