Woman Accused of Selling Fentanyl Misses Court, Arrest Warrant Issued

City News Service Pristine Villarreal

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – A 31-year-old woman accused with her boyfriend of selling large quantities of fentanyl in Norco and surrounding locations missed a scheduled preliminary hearing in Riverside Thursday, prompting a judge to sign a warrant for her arrest.

Amanda Brooke Listoe of Ontario is charged with two counts of possession of controlled substances for sale.

Listoe was slated to appear before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Gail O’Rane at the Riverside Hall of Justice for the preliminary hearing, which would have determined whether she should be bound over for trial. However, When her and co-defendant Gustavo Adolfo Chavez’s case was called at the Riverside Hall of Justice, Listoe was nowhere to be found, according to the court.

O’Rane signed a bench warrant and revoked Listoe’s $100,000 bail bond.

Chavez remains free on a $100,000 bond. He’s facing the same charges as Listoe.

It’s the second time she has skipped a court appearance. In May, Listoe missed her scheduled arraignment, and O’Rane issued a bench warrant at that time. The defendant was located and arraigned two days later, then posted bond and was released again.

She and Chavez are representing themselves in the case.

According to sheriff’s Sgt. Art Mendez, Listoe was the principal focus of investigators after she was arrested in Eastvale in December 2021 for allegedly carrying an undisclosed quantity of fentanyl.

Mendez said Listoe posted bail, but her activity remained under scrutiny, and detectives developed leads that she and her codefendant were allegedly engaged in ongoing fentanyl sales around Corona, Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Norco and Riverside.

A surveillance operation led to the pair being taken into custody on Hamner Avenue in Norco during the first week of March 2022.

“A search of their person and vehicle revealed a significant amount of fentanyl pills,” Mendez said.

He said search warrants were obtained and served at their shared residence in the 3200 block of Yellowstone Drive, where “fentanyl pills, methamphetamine and items indicative of the sales of controlled substances” were seized.

According to court records, Chavez has a prior misdemeanor conviction for being under the influence of a controlled substance. Listoe has no documented prior felony or misdemeanor convictions in Riverside County.

Fentanyl is manufactured in overseas labs, and according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, it’s smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border by cartels. The substance is 80-100 times more potent than morphine and is a popular additive, mixed into any number of narcotics and pharmaceuticals. The ingestion of only two milligrams can be fatal.

In 2022, there were about 415 fentanyl-induced deaths throughout Riverside County, while in 2021, there just under 400 poisonings, representing a 200-fold increase from 2016, when public safety officials say that only two such fatalities were documented.

Statistics published in 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.

Figures published by the CDC and other agencies show that fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18 and 45 years old.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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