Adrian Rodriguez Pleads Guilty to Fentanyl Distribution

Adrian Rodriguez ,Fentanyl Bakersfield Resident Pleads Guilty to Fentanyl Distribution Conspiracy

(STL.News) Adrian Rodriguez Cardenas, 21, of Bakersfield, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

On Feb. 4, 2022, co-defendant Keisean Rockmore, 27, of Bakersfield, pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl.

According to court documents, on Jan. 11, 2021, Cardenas negotiated with and sold to an undercover law enforcement officer counterfeit OxyContin/oxycodone pills containing fentanyl.  Cardenas thereafter negotiated a second sale of pills to the undercover officer.  On Jan. 19, 2021, Rockmore drove Cardenas and a third individual to a fast-food restaurant parking lot in Bakersfield to meet with and sell to the undercover officer 1,000 fentanyl-laced pills for the negotiated price of $2,900.  During the meeting, when the undercover officer asked the vehicle occupants whether they had the pills, Rockmore motioned towards a bag on his lap and stated that he had it.  At least one of the vehicle occupants possessed a firearm during the meeting, which he pointed at the undercover officer when a dispute arose during the transaction.  Rockmore then fled in his vehicle with Cardenas and the third person to a nearby apartment complex, where they exited the vehicle and attempted to elude pursuing law enforcement officers. After law enforcement officers found and arrested Cardenas, Rockmore and the other person at the apartment complex, they discovered nearby a loaded firearm and more than 50 counterfeit OxyContin/oxycodone pills.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Kern County Sherriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher D. Baker and Justin J. Gilio are prosecuting the case.

Cardenas is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jennifer L. Thurston on June 17, 2022. Cardenas faces a mandatory five-year term in prison and a maximum term of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine.  The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.