San Francisco
U.S. District Court

Fentanyl-dealing couple facing federal drugs and firearms charges in SF

Two “professional fentanyl dealers” – a Honduran couple commuting from Oakland to sell the drug in the Tenderloin – appeared in federal court today in San Francisco.  

A post-arrest search of Nicol Palma and Jordy Aguilar’s residence uncovered two privately-manufactured firearms, 400 grams of fentanyl and more than $4000 in cash.  

Over several weeks in June 2023 each defendant sold narcotics on multiple occasions to an undercover police officer working as part of a Drug Enforcement Administration task force.

The court was told that Palma had previously had state fentanyl cases dating back to December 2021 dismissed “due to an issue with an SFPD officer witness”.

Prosecutors say that an undercover officer arranged by phone to buy three grams of fentanyl from Palma on June 9, 2023. They met on the corner of Golden Gate Avenue and Hyde Street – just a block from the DEA’s San Francisco office – to consummate the transaction. Aguilar was nearby, as was another co-defendant Joseph Bristol.

Three days later Palma again agreed to sell fentanyl to the undercover officer – this time three ounces for $500. The exchange was made at the same Tenderloin location. Taskforce officers subsequently observed the defendants handling narcotics and undertaking “hand to hand” drugs sales.

On July 6 2023 the defendants were arrested in a car driving from Oakland to San Francisco. In the car, along with Palma, and Aguilar, was Maxfer Palma, described by prosecutors as “a cousin of one of the defendants and a known narcotics trafficker,” and another individual identified only as “C.A.”

A search uncovered, in Nicol Palma’s possession, two cellphones, a digital scale, 96.6 grams of fentanyl, 65.2 grams of methamphetamine and 45 grams of cocaine base. Aguilar was found with 122 grams of fentanyl and 44.8 grams of methamphetamine. A search of their residence in Oakland turned-up two loaded ‘ghost guns’, over 400 grams of fentanyl, and $4,394 in cash.

Officers also found money order receipts for remittances sent to Honduras and the Honduran passports for Aguilar and Palma.

Drugs found during search of Palma and Aguilar’s residence

In post-arrest interviews Aguilar, 24, admitted that the guns and drugs were his. He told police that he was from Honduras and had been in the U.S. for about one year. He said that he sold drugs in the Tenderloin every day except, apparently, for Thursdays, because he understood that there was more police activity in the neighborhood on that day.

He sent money to Honduras every week, he said, because he had a daughter there.  

Palma, 22, admitted to police that she sold drugs in the Tenderloin and that she had handled both firearms. She claimed the guns and drugs belonged to Aguilar, however.

Palma was arrested at the U.S. border in 2016 under the name Alejandra Licona-Varela. She thereafter failed to appear before immigration officials as directed in 2017.  

She now has a six year old daughter.

Aguilar had previously been arrested in 2022 on Eddy Street in possession of 75 grams of fentanyl and other drugs.

Palma was previously arrested in December 2021 on Turk Street with 100 grams of fentanyl, in July 2022 on Eddy Street, this time working with a “holder” with 350 grams of fentanyl, and in September 2022 on Eddy Street with 200 grams of fentanyl.

All of these state cases, say federal prosecutors, were dismissed “due to an issue with an SFPD officer witness” in June and July 2023.

This SFPD officer is presumed to be Christina Hayes, currently the subject of a misconduct investigation relating to a purported relationship with a confidential informant.

The case continues.

To be no­ti­fied when new sto­ries are pub­lished, please en­ter your email ad­dress be­low or fol­low us on Twit­ter.