A Colorado man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for selling a teenager what appeared to be prescription oxycodone pills that actually contained fentanyl.
"This is the longest sentence to date in federal court in Colorado for distribution of fentanyl resulting in death, and it should send a loud and clear message to drug dealers and drug traffickers. Our law enforcement partners will track you down and we will prosecute you if you peddle this poison in our communities," said United States Attorney Cole Finegan in a statement.
"Lives are at stake, and we will use every available tool to combat this deadly epidemic and stop these tragic losses," Finegan added.
In August, 23-year-old Nathaniel David Corser pleaded guilty to distribution of a mixture or substance with a detectable amount of fentanyl resulting in death. Following his sentence, he will serve three years of supervised release, according to court documents.
According to the plea agreement, Corser met with 19-year-old Kaeden Norlander at Cottonwood Creek Park in Colorado Springs for a drug deal. At the park, Corser sold the victim two blue pills imprinted with "M" and "30."
While the pills appeared to be prescription oxycodone pills, they actually contained fentanyl. The victim ingested both pills over the next day before he was found dead in his bedroom in July 5.
The El Paso County Coroner's Office conducted an autopsy of the victim which revealed his death was the result of fentanyl intoxication.
After Norlander's death, officers found text messages on his phone which appeared to relate to him buying the pills that killed him. An officer then used the victim's phone to communicate with Corser and arranged to buy five pills from him.
After the transaction, the Colorado Springs Police Department Metro Crime Lab tested the five blue pills and determined they contained fentanyl.
Officers searched Corser's apartment on July 15 and found 1,089 dosage units of 30 mg morphine sulfate pills;108 dosage units of 200 mcg fentanyl buccal tablets in the manufacturer's packaging; two blue tablets with "M" and "30" imprinted on them, which contained fentanyl; one loaded semi-automatic 9mm handgun; and a second loaded 9mm magazine. Corser was arrested at his apartment.