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Charges Expected Against Felon Suspected of Stashing More Than 22 Pounds of Drugs

Felony charges are expected to be filed Tuesday against a convicted felon suspected of stashing thousands of fentanyl pills, as well as large quantities of methamphetamine and heroin, at his Cherry Valley home and other properties.

Julio Cesar Castillo, 51, was arrested Friday morning and booked into the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning on suspicion of possession of more than 22 pounds of illicit narcotics, possession of drugs for sale and being a felon in possession of a loaded firearm.

Castillo is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail.

According to Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Jacob Cooley, Gang Task Force personnel initiated an investigation that resulted in search warrants being obtained and executed at Castillo’s residence on Lambert Road, along with properties in Beaumont and Calimesa.

Through the warrants, (deputies) seized approximately 28 pounds of methamphetamine, 5.5 pounds of heroin, approximately 2,000 suspected M30 fentanyl pills, 2.5 pounds of fentanyl powder, 400 glass smoking pipes commonly
used for smoking meth and one unserialized 9mm `ghost gun,”’ Cooley said.

Castillo was taken into custody without incident.

Background information on the suspect was unavailable.

According to public safety officials, there were 415 fentanyl-related deaths countywide last year. In 2021, there were just over 400 — a 200-fold increase from 2016, when there were two documented poisonings.

Statistics published last May by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed there were roughly 108,000 fatal drug overdoses in 2021, and fentanyl poisoning accounted for over 70,000 of them.

The synthetic opioid is manufactured in overseas labs and it can be 80-100 times more potent than morphine, mixed into any number of street narcotics and prescription drugs, without a user knowing what he or she is consuming. Ingestion of only two milligrams can be fatal.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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