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Honduran citizen gets 78-month prison term for selling drugs in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood

Community ambassadors in SF Tenderloin fight fentanyl epidemic amid rising overdoses
Community ambassadors in SF Tenderloin fight fentanyl epidemic amid rising overdoses 02:52

Another Honduran citizen was sentenced by a federal judge to 78 months in prison for selling drugs in San Francisco, federal prosecutors said.

Melvin Alexis Diaz Arteaga, a 30-year-old resident of Oakland, was convicted last year on six drug charges relating to his sale and intent to sell fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California said in a statement Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors said Diaz Arteaga confessed to possessing nearly 15 pounds of fentanyl, along with lesser quantities of meth, heroin, cocaine, and other narcotics, to sell before he was arrested outside of an apartment in Berkeley on Nov. 16, 2022.

He admitted using that Berkeley apartment to produce and store large quantities of drugs to sell in the Tenderloin neighborhood, among other locations. Prosecutors said he sold or arranged the sale of fentanyl and meth to an undercover officer of the San Francisco Police Department on four separate occasions between Sept. 16, 2022, and Oct. 5, 2022.

Authorities said two firearms, cash, and drug manufacturing and processing equipment were also found inside Diaz Arteaga's stash house.

They learned he traveled from his house in Oakland to the Tenderloin every night between Oct. 13, 2022, and Nov. 11, 2022. Diaz Arteaga routinely picked up a co-conspirator at a location in the East Bay and they would stop by their Berkeley stash house to pick up drugs before heading into San Francisco to sell the illegal substances on the streets of the Tenderloin, prosecutors said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Diaz Arteaga agreed to forfeit, among other things, more than $50,000 in cash that officers seized during his arrest, including nearly $42,000 found in his bedroom. He acknowledged these funds either were, or were derived from, drug sales, or that they were used, or were intended to be used, to continue his narcotics trafficking.

Besides his prison sentence, Diaz Arteaga is ordered to serve four years of supervised release, which will begin after his incarceration. He has been in custody since he was arrested on Nov. 16, 2022, prosecutors said.

Also last week, Honduran citizen Esmun Moyses Moral-Raudales, 28, was sentenced by a federal judge to 80 months in prison for trafficking drugs in San Francisco and Oakland. He pleaded guilty in October 2023 to two counts of distributing methamphetamine and one count of distributing fentanyl, prosecutors said.

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