By Ashley Cox

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)– A federal jury in Tallahassee has convicted Daniel Gutierrez, 37, of San Luis, Arizona of possession of methamphetamine and fentanyl with the intent to distribute. The guilty verdict, returned yesterday, at the conclusion of a three-day trial, was announced by Jason R. Coody, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

Evidence introduced at trial revealed that on September 19, 2020, Gutierrez was driving a tractor trailer loaded with vehicles on I-10 in Madison County, Florida. A Trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol noted the license plate on the trailer was obscured and initiated a traffic stop. While conducting the traffic stop, a canine was deployed and alerted to the presence of narcotics.

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During a search of the vehicle, Troopers recovered a clear bag with approximately 30 grams of methamphetamine, and a separate bag containing approximately 10 grams of what appeared to be oxycodone pills. Drug Enforcement Administration laboratory analysis confirmed the presence of methamphetamine and revealed that the pills thought to be oxycodone contained fentanyl.

“The Florida Highway Patrol works tirelessly to keep us safe and serve a critical role in our efforts to remove addictive and deadly controlled substances from our communities,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Coody. “Along with our partners at the DEA, they are to be commended for their efforts.”

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Gutierrez’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 12, 2021, at 11:00 am at the United States Courthouse in Tallahassee before the Honorable United States District Judge Allen Winsor. Gutierrez faces a sentence of ten years to life imprisonment, a fine of up to $5,000,000, and five years of supervised release.

“The Florida Highway Patrol works tirelessly to ensure the safety and security for those travelling on Florida’s roadways,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “I am extremely proud of our troopers who put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities. Our commitment to partnerships with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are unwavering.”

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“The guilty verdict demonstrates the outstanding work that is done through the successful partnership between the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Florida Highway Patrol,” said DEA Miami Field Division Acting Special Agent in Charge La Verne Hibbert. “DEA remains committed to our relationships with our law enforcement partners for the safety of our communities.”