Fairbanks Man Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison
For distributing counterfeit fentanyl pills resulting in a death
FAIRBANKS – A Fairbanks man was sentenced yesterday to 14 years in prison followed by eight years of supervised release for distributing counterfeit pills containing fentanyl resulting in the death of another individual. In issuing the sentence, U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Beistline noted that the 21-year-old victim had his entire life ahead of him when he overdosed on the counterfeit pills.
According to court documents, Andre Ronell Brown, 48, distributed counterfeit pills made to resemble pharmaceutical grade 30 milligram Oxycodone Hydrochloride pills, but which actually contained an unknown amount of fentanyl. On October 26, 2020, Brown distributed two of these pills via a co-conspirator to J.L. in Fairbanks. Two days later, J.L. was discovered deceased as a result of a drug overdose. The Medical Examiner confirmed that the cause of J.L.’s death was fentanyl, which was contained in the pills that originated from Brown.
Brown’s alleged co-conspirators, Christopher Kearney, 27, and Ladarius Edwards, 27, were each previously sentenced to five-years in prison based on their sales of pills obtained from Brown, which caused two additional non-fatal drug overdoses. Brown’s additional co-conspirator, Winston Crockett, previously pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
“Distributing counterfeit Oxycodone pills is a particularly insidious crime because the consumer is misled about how potent or potentially lethal they are,” said U.S Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr., District of Alaska. “When the pills are laced with fentanyl – as most are – the predictable outcome is a potentially deadly overdose. Traffickers like Brown are directly responsible for killing Alaskans, and my office and our law enforcement partners will do everything in our power to bring them to justice.”
The Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Alaska State Troopers, Fairbanks Police Department and North Pole Police Department investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Tansey prosecuted the case.
This case is part of Alaska’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). HIDTA was established in 2018 to enhance and coordinate efforts among local state and federal law enforcement agencies, providing equipment, technology and additional resources to combat drug trafficking and its harmful consequences in critical regions of Alaska.