Man from California charged with drug trafficking in Missouri

Drug Trafficking

A Montclair, California, man was charged in federal court for transporting more than four pounds of heroin and approximately five pounds of fentanyl aboard a bus en route to New York City.

Daniel O. Villanueva, 20, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Missouri, with possessing heroin and fentanyl with the intent to distribute. Villanueva remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the federal criminal complaint, detectives with the MoWIN (Missouri Western Interdiction and Narcotics) Task Force contacted Villanueva at a local bus station when he disembarked from a bus originating from Los Angeles, California, en route to New York City. Villanueva was acting nervous, the affidavit says, and gave detectives permission to search his backpack in the overhead bin in the passenger compartment of the bus. No contraband was found in the backpack.

Near Villanueva’s backpack was a green backpack, which Villanueva claimed did not belong to him. Detectives removed the green backpack and a police service canine alerted to the presence of controlled substances inside the backpack. When passengers boarded the bus, detectives asked whether the backpack belonged to any of them. No one claimed the backpack, so detectives removed it from the bus and searched it. They found four bundles concealed within men’s clothing. Two bundles contained a total of 2.022 kilograms (approximately 4.4 pounds) of heroin and 2.27 kilograms (approximately five pounds) of fentanyl.

Villanueva, who had been escorted off the bus, told detectives the green backpack was his, the affidavit says. Villanueva told detectives he was to be paid $5,000 to deliver the heroin and fentanyl to New York City.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ashleigh Ragner and Jeffrey Q. McCarther. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.