Reporting from The Daily Sentinel announced federal charges against five Grand Junction, Colorado residents in connection to the June 11, 2018 counterfeit fentanyl pill death of 32-year-old Ashley Romero. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) resident agent in charge Steve Knight stated that law enforcement arrested Lexus Holder, Geri Bochmann, and Corina Holder for their roles in Romero’s death. Bruce Holder and Jessica Brady were already in federal custody at the time. A sixth defendant—Marie Matos—is currently in the custody of the Mesa County Sheriff, but will be arraigned in federal court on a count unrelated to Romero’s death.
According to an article in The Daily Sentinel published on June 20, 2018, Romero, who had been dealing with the debilitating pain of pancreatitis flare-ups for years, and her boyfriend, Jaime Aragon, took pills that they thought were prescription oxycodone pills on June 11, 2018. The pills were counterfeits laced with fentanyl. Both were found unconscious outside of their home. First responders administered naloxone on the pair but were only able to revive Aragon. Upon learning of Romero’s death, Aragon killed himself.
Bruce Holder, Lexus Holder, Geri Bochmann, Corina Holder, and Jessica Brady all are charged with Ashley Romero’s death. A superseding indictment alleges that Bruce Holder also sold counterfeit pills that killed two people – J.E. and Z.G. on or about December 28, 2017. Previously, the U.S. Department of Justice stated they believed Bruce Holder made monthly trips to Mexico to purchase and smuggle the counterfeit pills back into the country.
Knight said that the recent arrests “will significantly impact the availability of fentanyl in the Grand Valley.” The work of multiple law enforcement agencies contributed to this case including the Grand Junction Police Department, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, the Fruita Police Department, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Western Colorado Drug Task Force, and the DEA.