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Press Release

Anchorage Woman, Inmate Sentenced to Over Three Years for Distributing Fentanyl in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Alaska
Defendant Distributed Fentanyl inside Alaska Prison Resulting in the Overdose of Four Inmates

Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that an Anchorage woman, who was an inmate at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center (HMCC) at the time of the offense, was sentenced for distributing fentanyl to other inmates while in prison, which resulted in the overdose of four inmates.

Dorothy Elizabeth Lantz, 37, of Anchorage, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Beistline, to serve 40 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, after previously pleading guilty to three counts of distribution of a controlled substance.  The court deferred ruling for 30 days on whether Lantz will also be ordered to pay restitution to the State of Alaska Department of Corrections (DOC) for related hospital bills it incurred due to the fentanyl overdoses. 

According to court documents, on Oct. 24, 2017, Lantz was booked into Anchorage Correctional Complex (ACC) for a state probation violation.  On Oct. 30, 2017, Lantz was transferred from ACC to HMCC, while carrying fentanyl inside her body.  When she arrived at HMCC that afternoon, Lantz distributed a quantity of fentanyl to another HMCC inmate, and distributed a quantity of fentanyl to two other HMCC inmates the next day.  In all, between Oct. 30 and Oct. 31, 2017, four HMCC inmates overdosed after taking fentanyl, including one inmate who overdosed two separate times.  All four inmates were resuscitated and survived. 

During the course of the investigation, DOC personnel were able to recover .38 grams of fentanyl from one of the HMCC inmates who overdosed.  The investigation revealed that Lantz had traded the drugs to her fellow HMCC inmates in exchange for commissary items.  Fentanyl, sometimes known on the street as “Grey Death,” is a powerful synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin. 

At the sentencing hearing, the defendant acknowledged that in smuggling fentanyl into the prison and then distributing it, she had made “one bad decision after another.”  Judge Beistline underscored that the overdoses at HMCC was a “significant event” that required a significant sentence to deter others from making the same dangerous decisions that the defendant had made.  Moreover, the judge recognized that had the inmates who overdosed not been resuscitated the defendant would have been facing “years not months” in federal prison. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and DOC conducted the investigation, leading to the successful prosecution of this case.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea W. Hattan

Updated December 19, 2018