Irving Cepeda-Chico, 39, of Kissimmee, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl and 12 counts of distribution of heroin and fentanyl.
Cepeda-Chico faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years, and up to life, in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to court documents, Cepeda-Chico was involved in obtaining and distributing heroin and fentanyl-laced heroin in Orlando and elsewhere in central and northern Florida. Audio and video recordings showed Cepeda-Chico selling thousands of dollars of fentanyl-laced heroin on multiple occasions. Court-authorized wiretap recordings captured Cepeda-Chico discussing distribution plans, discussing the quality of his product with a Mexican supplier, offloading bad fentanyl and heroin on another distributor and arranging to pay his supplier through money orders.
The investigation specified 14 instances, in December 2018 through August 2019, where Cepeda-Chico either possessed with intent to distribute or distributed a total of over 1.3 kilograms of heroin, nearly 500 grams, which were laced with fentanyl. In addition, Cepeda-Chico distributed fentanyl-laced heroin to an individual who died in a fatal overdose on July 19, 2019. The United States will be seeking to hold Cepeda-Chico responsible for that death at his sentencing hearing.
Cepeda-Chico’s conspirators – Jeremy Zamot, 23, of Tampa; Kristen Ortiz, 24, of Orlando; Rachel Torres, 25, of Orlando; Christian Millan, 36, of Panama City; and Claribel Rivas, 32, Panama City, — have all pleaded guilty to their roles in this conspiracy. They are scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 21 and Jan. 22, 2021.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations, the Orange County Sherriff’s Office, the Osceola County Sherriff’s Office, the Florida Highway Patrol, the Lakeland Police Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Central Florida High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and District 9 and 25 Medical Examiner Offices. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dana E. Hill.