Tampa Woman Found Guilty Of Conspiracy To Distribute Heroin And Fentanyl, And Distribution Of Fentanyl Resulting In Death
Tampa, Florida – A federal jury has found Leslie Pagan (40, Tampa) guilty of conspiracy to distribute over one kilogram of heroin and a quantity of fentanyl, distribution of fentanyl resulting in death, and eight counts of distribution of heroin or fentanyl. Pagan faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 20 years, and up to life, in federal prison.
Pagan had been indicted on August 27, 2020, along with Jackylin Bonifacio and Steven Echevarria. A superseding indictment was filed on November 5, 2020. Prior to trial, Bonifacio pleaded guilty to distribution of fentanyl resulting in death, and Echevarria pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute over one kilogram of heroin.
According to testimony presented at trial, from January 1, 2016, through September 1, 2020, Pagan, Echevarria, Bonifacio and others conspired to distribute heroin. Bonifacio distributed heroin she had received from Pagan and Echevarria to heroin users in Hillsborough County. Echevarria initially controlled the supply he obtained from another co-conspirator, but when Echevarria was incarcerated in 2017, Pagan took over that role and distributed the heroin to Bonifacio. On December 19, 2019, Bonifacio distributed a substance to the victim. Bonifacio thought the substance was heroin, but it was actually fentanyl. When the victim used the fentanyl shortly after receiving it from Bonifacio, the victim collapsed and died.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office investigated the overdose death and identified Bonifacio as the person who had distributed the fentanyl to the victim. On December 20, 2019, Bonifacio was arrested and found in possession of 25 baggies of fentanyl, packaged for distribution.
The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy and determined that the victim died from ingestion of substances, including heroin and fentanyl. Baggies recovered from Bonifacio and residue from a syringe found near the victim at the time of the overdose were analyzed and identified to contain fentanyl. Lab analysis also determined that the fentanyl mixtures were all very similar and, based on the circumstances of the death and the toxicology from the autopsy, the victim’s use of the fentanyl caused the victim’s death.
A joint investigation led by the FBI identified Pagan as Bonifacio’s supplier. During a series of covert operations, Pagan distributed fentanyl and heroin to a confidential informant and received payments from that informant. Pagan was arrested on September 1, 2020, and investigators recovered 97 grams of fentanyl and over $105,000 in currency from her residence.
Bonifacio testified during the trial and identified Pagan as her supplier and the co-conspirator that provided the fentanyl that the victim had used, resulting in her death.
This investigation is the result of a partnership between the United States Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Tampa Police Department, the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Sinacore.
This investigation is the result of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) program. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.