Two Active-Duty Marines Charged in Indictment Alleging Drug Trafficking Conspiracy After Fellow Marine’s Fatal Drug Overdose
LOS ANGELES – Two active-duty United States Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton were arrested today on a federal grand jury indictment charging one Marine and three civilians with conspiring to distribute narcotics – including oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl – to civilians and members of the United States Marine Corps, one of whom suffered a fatal drug overdose in May. The second Marine is charged in the indictment with being an accessory after the fact.
The 14-count superseding indictment charges five defendants:
- Jordan Nicholas McCormick, 26, 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;
- Gustavo Jaciel Solis, 24, of Sylmar, who allegedly distributed McCormick’s drugs to civilians and military personnel;
- Anthony Ruben Whisenant, 20, a lance corporal in the United States Marine Corps, who allegedly distributed narcotics to active service members, including an active-duty Marine who died after ingesting an oxycodone pill laced with fentanyl purchased from Solis;
- Jessica Sarah Perez, 23, of Pacoima, who allegedly distributed narcotics including fentanyl and cocaine to the conspiracy’s civilian customers; and
- Ryan Douglas White, 22, 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.
Whisenant and White were taken into federal custody today and are expected to make their initial appearances this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles.
On August 11, Solis and Perez were indicted on fentanyl and cocaine distribution charges, and Solis was indicted on firearms-related charges. They have pleaded not guilty to these charges and their trial date is scheduled for October 27. Solis is in federal custody and Perez is free on $25,000 bond. Today’s superseding indictment adds McCormick, Whisenant and White as defendants, in addition to adding charges to the original indictment. McCormick also is in federal custody.
According to the indictment, the conspiracy lasted from November 2019 to September 2020 and involved multiple sales of fentanyl-laced oxycodone to an undercover buyer, often for amounts exceeding $1,000 per buy.
On May 22, Solis sold 10 pills of oxycodone laced with fentanyl to an active-duty Marine who died of a drug overdose in the early morning hours of May 23, the indictment alleges.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, McCormick, Solis, Whisenant and Perez face substantive charges of distribution of narcotics, including fentanyl. McCormick and Solis are also charged with possessing firearms in furtherance of drug crimes.
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.
If convicted, McCormick and Solis would face a mandatory minimum of 15 years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Whisenant and Perez would face a statutory maximum of 20 years in federal prison if convicted. White, if convicted, would face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.
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 Special Assistant United States Attorney Patrick Castañeda and Assistant United States Attorneys Jenna Williams and Gregg E. Marmaro of the General Crimes Section.