A 31-year-old woman accused with her boyfriend of selling large quantities of fentanyl in Norco and surrounding locations missed a court appearance Monday in Riverside, prompting a judge to issue 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 arraignment, but when the defendant’s case was called, she was a no-show.
O’Rane signed a $70,000 bench warrant and revoked Listoe’s $50,000 bail bond.
The defendant’s whereabouts were unknown Monday.
Her boyfriend, Gustavo Adolfo Chavez, also of Ontario, pleaded not guilty to the same charges, as well as alleged probation violations, during an arraignment in March.
Chavez is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Art Mendez, Listoe was the principal focus of investigators after she was arrested in Eastvale in December 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 Chavez 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.
“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 overseas and, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, is smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border by drug cartels. The synthetic opioid is known to be 80-100 times more potent than morphine and is a popular additive, mixed into any number of narcotics and pharmaceuticals, according to public safety officials.
Sheriff Chad Bianco said there were about 500 fentanyl-induced deaths countywide last year, which represents a 250-fold increase from 2016, when only two such fatalities were documented.