Source: WikiMedia Commons

The U.S. Department of Justice announced charges against a California resident who sold a counterfeit pill made with fentanyl that killed a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton. Kyle Anthony Shephard of San Marcos was charged with distribution of fentanyl resulting in death, a violation of Title 21, U.S.C., Section 841(b)(1)(C).

According to the Complaint filed in court by Lisa Brit Nielsen, a special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), Shephard sold the Marine corporal, whose identity has not been revealed, four counterfeit pills that contained fentanyl on Friday, January 27, 2017. The corporal was found unresponsive on the floor of his barracks on January 29th. An autopsy found that the corporal died from opioid toxicity caused by a fentanyl overdose. In April 2017, toxicology tests came back on a blue pill found in the corporal’s room and showed that it contained fentanyl.

The complained said a review of the text history in the corporal’s phone showed that he and Shephard met in November 2016 and that Shephard sold drugs to the corporal on multiple occasions. As the NCIS’s investigation progressed, Shephard and a female associate were arrested and charged by the San Diego District Attorney’s Office with distribution of a controlled substance.

In her complaint, Nielsen said that local law enforcement believed that Kyle had distributed as many as 2,000 fentanyl-laced pills. U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman stated, “What a senseless tragedy that another young life has been lost because of fentanyl. This Marine was serving his country and had his whole life ahead of him. We are going to hold dealers accountable for the deaths that result from their reckless disregard for human life.”