Nevada Woman Charged With Selling Fake Fentanyl Pill That Killed A 26-Year-Old

30,000 counterfeit oxycodone pills courtesy the DEA from an August 2017 seizure

According to KLAS-TV in Las Vegas, federal prosecutors allege that Tianna Cordova of Henderson sold a counterfeit oxycodone pill made with fentanyl that caused the March 14, 2017 death of 26-year-old Christiana Kuerner. The August 2018 superseding indictment lists four charges against Tianna Cordova and co-defendant Robert Thornburg: one count conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, two counts distribution of a controlled substance, and one count possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Separately, Cordova faces three counts distribution of a controlled substance, one of which includes a charge for Kuerner’s death, possession of a firearm, and illegal use of a communications facility. Thornburg faces an additional charge of possession of a firearm.

In a court document, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) confidential source made a controlled purchase from Cordova on May 24, 2018 of ten 30mg oxycodone pills, thirty 10mg oxycodone pills, and five Adderall tablets. When law enforcement searched the residence the following month, various amounts of oxycodone, hydrocodone, alprazolam, four firearms, and an unspecified amount of cash were seized. Both Cordova and Thornburg agreed to speak with agents, with Cordova admitting to having provided the fentanyl-laced pill that caused the death of Christiana Kuerner.

While speaking with KLAS-TV, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Daniel Neill of the DEA warned that fentanyl would not be going away anytime soon because of its profit margins. Any pills purchased on the street could be deadly and, “You won’t know they’re laced with fentanyl until it’s too late,” said Neill. He also said fentanyl seizures have increased in southern Nevada over the past year with seizures of 20,000 – 30,000 pills being found at a time.

The U.S. Department of Justice credited the DEA and the Clark County Coroner’s Office for their work investigating this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon C. Jaroch is prosecuting the case.