Kearney-area drug bust leads to federal prison for second suspect

Nelson Nunez-Acosta sentenced to federal prison for hauling fentanyl in Nebraska.
Nelson Nunez-Acosta sentenced to federal prison for hauling fentanyl in Nebraska.(Buffalo County Detention Center)
Published: Feb. 5, 2021 at 5:12 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (KSNB) - A man from the Dominican Republic is getting 13 years in federal prison after a trooper found a record-breaking amount of the synthetic opioid fentanyl during a drug bust on Interstate 80.

The US Attorney announced that Nelson Nicholas Nunez-Acosta, 55, of La Vega, Dominican Republic, was sentenced Feb 4 for Possession with Intent to Distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl. Nunez-Acosta received a sentence of 11 years with a five-year term of supervised release to follow. There is no parole in the federal system.

On April 26, 2018, a Nebraska State Patrol trooper stopped a semi-truck pulling a refrigerated trailer on Interstate 80 about a mile east of the Minden exit. The driver, Felipe Minaya, was an employee of NNN Transport, and the passenger, Nunez-Acosta, was the company owner. During the course of the traffic stop, the trooper became suspicious of criminal activity. While inspecting the refrigerator unit inside the trailer, the trooper determined that there was a hidden compartment concealed behind the unit. After accessing the hidden compartment, the trooper discovered 42 bricks containing 118 pounds of fentanyl.

The street value of the drugs was estimated to be $5-10 million.

Further investigation by the Nebraska State Patrol determined that Minaya became aware that he was hauling narcotics when Nunez-Acosta flew from New Jersey to California to meet him. During this time, the semitrailer was loaded with the fentanyl. In addition to the criminal sentence, Nunez-Acosta also forfeited the semi-truck.

A federal grand jury indicted both men in June 2018 for what at the time was a record-breaking fentanyl bust.

Minaya was sentenced on Nov. 9, 2020, to 70 months’ imprisonment with a three-year term of supervised release to follow.

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin and 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

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