Two Oregon drug dealers were handed stiff prison sentences in connection with fentanyl-related overdoses this week, as state and federal law enforcement and criminal justice officials continue their crackdown on the deadly synthetic opioid.
In both cases, the victims consumed counterfeit oxycodone pills without knowing they contained fentanyl.
Dylan Wilson, 26, of Lafayette, Oregon, on Tuesday, June 27, was sentenced to eight years in federal prison and three years’ supervised release for distributing counterfeit pills containing fentanyl that caused the fatal overdose of a Yamhill County teen.
According to court documents, Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the fatal overdose of a 15-year-old in Daytonon July 21, 2021.
A search of the victim’s cell phone and an interview with one of the victim’s minor friends revealed that the victim had recently purchased what they thought were oycodone pills from Wilson. The victim was not aware that the counterfeit pills, labeled with “M30,” contained fentanyl.
A toxicology report later confirmed the victim died of a fentanyl overdose.
The next day, Yamhill County deputies and FBI special agents surveilled Wilson’s residence in Lafayette and arrested him without incident. Wilson confessed to knowing the victim was a minor before selling the counterfeit pills.
A search of Wilson’s cell phone revealed evidence of his fentanyl supplier. Investigators identified the supplier as Scott Keeling, 23, of McMinnville, and arrested him the same day.
In Decemeber 2021, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a three-count indictment charging Wilson and Keeling with conspiring with one another and others to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl.
And in February of this year, Keeling pleaded guilty to possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl. Two months later, Wilson pleaded guilty to the same charge. Keeling was also sentenced to eight years in federal prison and three years’ supervised release.
In another federal case in Oregon, a Portland area drug dealer was sentenced to federal prison June 28 for distributing counterfeit pills containing fentanyl that caused the fatal overdose of a Hillsboro man.
David Weaver, 40, of Portland, was sentenced to 12 and a half years in federal prison and five years’ supervised release.
According to court documents, on February 3, 2021, a 25-year-old man was found dead in his parents’ Hillsboro home after he consumed a counterfeit oxycodone pill containing fentanyl.
Over the next three weeks, law enforcement uncovered a four-person drug distribution chain whose illicit actions led to the young man’s death.
Investigators identified Weaver as the person who purchased the deadly counterfeit pills from a drug trafficker who transported them from California to Oregon. Weaver resold the pills to others, including the individuals who supplied the pills to the Hillsboro overdose victim.
As part of a sting operations, investigators used a seized cellphone to arrange to purchase 100 fentanyl pills from Weaver — whom they arrested en route to the meeting location.
A search of Weaver’s car and home led to the discovery and seizure of more than 900 fentanyl pills, approximately three and half pounds of methamphetamine, two pounds of heroin, a 9 mm handgun, a shotgun with an obliterated serial number and $22,483 in cash.
Later that same month, police located and arrested Weaver’s supplier, 30-year-old Gerardo Corrales-Aragon, as he was leaving a Portland hotel.
In March 2021, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a 13-count indictment charging Weaver, Corrales-Aragon and three others with conspiring with one another to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and other related offenses.
Weaver pleaded guilty to possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine in August 2022. As part of his plea agreement, Weaver agreed to a sentencing enhancement that his fentanyl distribution resulted in the death of the Hillsboro victim.
And, in March of this year, Corrales-Aragon pleaded guilty to possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl and agreed to the same conditions as Weaver. Corrales-Aragon was also sentenced to 12 and a half years in federal prison and five years’ supervised release.
This case was investigated by the Portland Police Bureau, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and Hillsboro Police Department with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.
Finally, in related news, an area drug trafficker is facing federal charges this week after his supply of illicit fentanyl was linked to another fatal overdose in Portland.
Efrain Roberto Diaz-Rangel, 34, a Mexican national residing in Portland, was charged with possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and heroin.
According to court documents, in April 2023, the Westside Interagency Narcotics Team began investigating a suspected fentanyl overdose of an adult victim in Portland.
Investigators identified multiple people involved in a distribution chain responsible for selling counterfeit oxycodone pills manufactured with fentanyl, some of which were determined to have caused the Portland victim’s overdose death.
Homeland Security special agents arrested Diaz-Rangel on June 27. At the time, he was allegedly in possession of 1,000 counterfeit pills and a small quantity of heroin. Agents also located an additional 30,000 counterfeit pills, several additional pounds of heroin, and more than $10,000 in cash.
Diaz-Rangel made his first appearance in federal court on Wednesday, June 28, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman. He was ordered detained pending further court proceedings.
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