LOS ANGELES – A Sylmar man pleaded guilty this afternoon to two federal drug trafficking offenses, one of which stemmed from a 2020 transaction in which he sold bogus oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl that caused a U.S. Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton to suffer a fatal overdose.
Gustavo Jaciel Solis, 25, of Sylmar, pleaded guilty in United States District Court to participating in a drug trafficking conspiracy and distributing fentanyl resulting in death.
United States District Judge Dolly M. Gee is scheduled to sentence Solis on August 17, at which time he will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for the fentanyl charge, and potential life sentences for each of the narcotics offenses.
Solis was charged in 2020, along with an active-duty United States Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton and two other alleged co-conspirators, with being part of a ring that distributed narcotics to civilians and members of the United States Marine Corps.
In a plea agreement filed Tuesday, Solis admitted that he “would advertise his controlled substances for sale through his Snapchat account username, ‘huf_75,’ and display name, ‘Gusto928.’ [Solis] would provide various controlled substances, including LSD, MDMA, cocaine, and purported oxycodone pills containing fentanyl, to customers directly, through couriers, or through the United States mail.”
On May 22, 2020, after obtaining approximately 1,000 counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl from a co-defendant, Solis admitted using his Snapchat account to advertise the pills by posting a picture of several pills with the caption, “Who f*** with M30s? Tapp in.”
Solis subsequently sold approximately 10 of the counterfeit oxycodone pills, and a 20-year-old U.S. Marine identified in court papers as “L.M.” died after consuming some of the fentanyl-laced pills.
Solis also admitted in his plea agreement orchestrating other narcotics transactions, some of which were conducted with an undercover agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The transactions with the undercover agent involved several types of narcotics, including counterfeit oxycodone containing fentanyl, cocaine and LSD.
Solis was arrested on July 29, 2020, at which time investigators seized narcotics and several firearms – including a 9mm “ghost gun” – from his residence.
A superseding indictment filed in September 2020 named Solis and four other defendants, who are:
- Jordan Nicholas McCormick, 27, of Palmdale, the lead defendant and the conspiracy’s alleged supplier who provided LSD, ecstasy, cocaine and oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl to co-conspirators;
- Anthony Ruben Whisenant, 22, a lance corporal in the United States Marine Corps, who allegedly aided and abetted the distribution of the fentanyl-laced pills purchased from Solis that resulted in L.M.’s fatal overdose;
- Jessica Sarah Perez, 25, of Pacoima, who distributed narcotics including fentanyl and cocaine to the conspiracy’s civilian customers; and
- Ryan Douglas White, 24, a lance corporal in the United States Marine Corps, who is charged with being an accessory after the fact for allegedly attempting to hinder law enforcement’s apprehension of Whisenant and Solis.
Perez pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute narcotics on January 26, and Judge Gee is scheduled to sentence her on May 11. The remaining three defendants are scheduled to go on trial on June 21.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter was investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Patrick Castañeda and Gregg E. Marmaro of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section.