Federal Jury Convicts Two Green Bay Men of Trafficking Fentanyl disguised as Percocet
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Wisconsin
United States Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad of the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced that February 16, 2023, a federal jury in Green Bay convicted Don A.K. James, Jr. (age: 24) and Frederick L. Brewer (age: 34) of Conspiracy to Distribute Fentanyl, Possessing Fentanyl With Intent to Distribute, and Distributing Fentanyl, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841 and 846.
The evidence presented at trial showed that in January and February 2022, Brewer sold fentanyl pills to an informant working with the Brown County Drug Task Force. The potentially lethal pills had been illicitly manufactured to resemble Percocet. After DTF arrested Brewer, they learned that James—Brewer’s brother—had negotiated with an Arizona-based source to buy thousands of counterfeit Percocet pills containing fentanyl. James flew to Arizona in early January 2022 to buy at least 15,000 pills. While there, he sent a video to a large-scale buyer in the Green Bay area—the video showed that James had at least 19,000 pills to distribute.
The evidence also showed that James flew back to Wisconsin and boasted to the buyer that James now had 30,000 fentanyl pills and was ready to do business. Brewer conspired with and assisted James in the fentanyl-trafficking operation, including when James returned from Arizona with the “load” of pills. When James was arrested, he attempted to swallow a bag of 58 fentanyl pills. After a several-minute struggle, during which DTF investigators administered Narcan to protect James against a potential overdose, they forced James to spit out the still-intact bag. James feared that he had swallowed two pills and pleaded for additional medical help.
Investigators quickly summoned an ambulance, which transported James to the hospital for medical clearance. James later posted bail and was released, only to be re-arrested in June 2022 when he was found in possession of over 750 fentanyl pills with the intent to distribute.
“Across the country – including in the Eastern District of Wisconsin – fentanyl is cutting a deadly swath through families and communities,” stated U.S. Attorney Haanstad. “The fact that traffickers like those convicted by the jury in this case are willing to increase the risk of overdoses by disguising this deadly substance as something less lethal is particularly disturbing. We are committed to working with all of our federal, state, local, and tribal partners to hold drug traffickers accountable for their actions.”
“I am appreciative of the ongoing collaboration between the Brown County Drug Task Force and our federal partners, specifically the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of Wisconsin, to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations who poison our community by the distribution of fentanyl. We remain committed to keeping our community safe and holding drug dealers accountable for their illegal activities.“ Brown County Sheriff Todd J. Delain
Both defendants will be sentenced by Judge William C. Griesbach in May 2023.
James faces at least ten years in prison and a maximum of life in prison. James has multiple prior convictions, including a felony cocaine conviction that resulted in probation.
Brewer faces up to 30 years in prison. He has been previously convicted of multiple drug felonies, including possessing cocaine with intent to deliver in 2006, resulting in probation that was later revoked; two counts of delivering cocaine, one count of delivering fentanyl, and one count of possessing cocaine with intent to deliver, all in 2018, resulting in a four-year prison term. After Brewer was released early from prison in 2020, he committed the new offenses, resulting in another revocation and prison term that he is currently serving.
This case was investigated by the Brown County Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tim Funnell and Alex Duros.
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Updated February 17, 2023