SAN FRANCISCO –A federal grand jury indicted Cesia Medina-Zuniga in connection with an alleged scheme to sell narcotics in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco announced US Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Special Agent in Charge Bob P. Beris.
According to documents filed by the government, since 2019, Zuniga, 26, has commuted “regularly and frequently” from her residence in Oakland to San Francisco’s Tenderloin District to sell narcotics. Further, the government alleges that since 2020, Zuniga added fentanyl to the products that she distributed on the streets of the Tenderloin.
According to the government, an undercover officer contacted Zuniga on July 12, 2022, and requested “yellow,” a slang term for fentanyl. Although she demonstrated she was suspicious of the officer, Zuniga allegedly completed a transaction with him in which she provided just over 8 grams of fentanyl in exchange for $80. Following this first transaction, Zuniga sold increasing quantities and varieties of narcotics to the officer, including methamphetamine and a brightly colored fentanyl dubbed “rainbow.” Following three more transactions on July 19, 2022, July 26, 2022, and August 19, 2022 (involving a total of $2,600, 95 grams of fentanyl, and over 100 grams of methamphetamine), the undercover officer sent a text to Zuniga on September 6, 2022, asking how much fentanyl he could buy for $2,000. After Zuniga allegedly replied that she would sell the officer seven ounces of fentanyl for $2,000, the two arranged to meet on September 8, to complete the transaction. On September 8, 2022, Zuniga was observed leaving her residence in Oakland wearing a black backpack. In connection with her arrest, officers retrieved the backpack which was alleged to have contained 351 grams of suspected fentanyl.
The indictment charges Zuniga with one count of possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl, in violation of 21 USC § 841(a) and (b)(1)(C), and three counts of possession with intent to distribute over 40 grams of fentanyl , in violation of 18 USC § 841(a)(1)(C) and (b)(1)(B). If convicted of the first count, Zuniga faces a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison. For each of the three counts under section (b)(1)(B), Zuniga faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 40 years in prison, if convicted. However, any sentence after a conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the US Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 USC § 3553.
Zuniga remains in custody pending further proceedings. The defendant is next scheduled to appear September 27, 2022, before Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero, to be arraigned on the charges in the indictment.
The charges contained in the criminal indictment are only allegations. As in any criminal case, the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alethea M. Sargent with assistance from Claudia Hyslop. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the DEA and SFPD.