Man arrested at KC bus stop for taking pounds of fentanyl, heroin to NYC, feds say

A California man was arrested Wednesday in Kansas City for allegedly moving more than 4 pounds of heroin and about 5 pounds of fentanyl across the country on a bus heading to New York City, according to federal prosecutors.

Detectives made contact with Daniel Villanueva, 20, of Montclair, at a local bus station when he got off a bus that originated in Los Angeles. They found a backpack, which Villanueva said belonged to him, that contained bundles of 2.022 kilograms of heroin and 2.27 kilograms of fentanyl, prosecutors in the Western District of Missouri said Thursday.

Villanueva was acting nervous when the drug task force detectives spoke with him, prosecutors said. He let them search his backpack in the overhead bin and no contraband was found. But near his backpack was a green one that contained the drugs, authorities said.

Villanueva initially denied the green backpack belong to him, prosecutors said. No other passengers who boarded the bus claimed the backpack, so detectives searched it. The drugs were concealed within men’s clothing.

Once he was escorted off the bus, Villanueva said the backpack was his, authorities said. He told detectives he was to be paid $5,000 for delivering the drugs to New York City, according to prosecutors.

Villanueva was charged with possessing heroin and fentanyl with the intent to distribute. He did not yet have an attorney listed in public court records who could be reached for comment.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Kansas City police.

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Luke Nozicka covers local crime and federal courts for The Kansas City Star. Before joining The Star, he covered breaking news and courts for The Des Moines Register.