By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A man pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court last week to a charge of possessing fentanyl with an intent to distribute filed in his arrest this summer with an estimated $150 million worth of the drug in his vehicle.
Diego J. Aguilar-Valdovinos entered his plea Oct. 25 during his initial appearance in federal court. His trial is set for Jan. 3.
Aguilar-Valdovinos was arrested in July when a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper stopped him for speeding east of Cheyenne on Interstate 80.
The trooper became suspicious of Aguilar-Valdovinos, who was driving a 2021 Hyundai Kona, when the man provided inconsistent and implausible travel plans.
The trooper detained the driver and deployed a drug-sniffing dog around the exterior of the car. The dog gave an alert to an odor inside the vehicle.
A search of the car was conducted and the trooper found approximately 24 pounds of suspected fentanyl, a highly potent opioid, inside the vehicle.
Aguilar-Valdovinos was arrested and charged with felony transportation, distribution and possession of narcotics.
“Fentanyl has become more of a prevalent drug in recent years and can be lethal for law enforcement and first responders who come in contact with it,” the WHP said in a social media post at the time of the arrest. “Individuals can experience potentially fatal effects from minimal amounts of the drug. If Fentanyl is taken in conjunction with other opiates, its lethal dose is even smaller. To put it into perspective, two milligrams of Fentanyl can be deadly to a human.”