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5-year prison term in Cottonwood fentanyl bust
Police chief: 'Conservatively, this is enough fentanyl to kill more than a half a million people'

Rigoberto Pacheco-Sanchez (Cottonwood PD/Courtesy)

Rigoberto Pacheco-Sanchez (Cottonwood PD/Courtesy)

A Mexican man has been sentenced to serve 5 years in prison for helping to transport more than 3.5 pounds of fentanyl.

Rigoberto Pacheco-Sanchez, 31, was driving toward Cottonwood on Highway 260 near Cherry Creek Road on Aug. 29, 2019, when he was pulled over for a cracked windshield and expired California registration tag, according to the Cottonwood Police Department.

Pacheco-Sanchez initially fled on foot, but was captured a short time later.

The passenger, 39-year-old Jose Guadalupe Briones-Becerra from Mexico, was also detained.

A K9 was used to sniff around the vehicle. The dog gave a positive alert, so officers searched the vehicle.

They found the fentanyl and one gram of methamphetamine.

The fentanyl was in powder and pill form and had an approximate street value of about $900,000, according to a news release.

“Conservatively, this is enough fentanyl to kill more than a half a million people,” Cottonwood Police Chief Steve Gesell said at the time.

Pacheco-Sanchez and Briones-Becerra were booked into the Yavapai County jail in Camp Verde and bond holds were placed on both of them by Immigration Customs Enforcement.

Pacheco-Sanchez eventually plead guilty to “sale or transportation of narcotic drugs” and was sentenced on Jan. 27 after serving 151 days in jail.

Briones-Becerra’s court case has yet to wrap up, but he is currently scheduled for a change of plea hearing on Feb. 10.

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