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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 24, 2021

Third Defendant Sentenced to Almost 19 Years in Fentanyl Overdose Death of Longtime Rugby Player

Assistant U. S. Attorney Larry Casper (619) 546-6734

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARYMay 24, 2021

SAN DIEGO – Andrew Samuel Daniel Gossai was sentenced in federal court today to 226 months in prison for supplying the fentanyl that led to the fatal overdose of 45-year old Derrick Hotchkiss, a longtime rugby player for the San Diego Old Aztecs Rugby Football Club.

Gossai, the last of three defendants to plead guilty in the case, admitted to distributing the fentanyl that caused the death and to selling in excess of 400 grams of fentanyl.

At today’s sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia noted the “severe costs the crime has brought to the community” and that the defendant was “up the chain of distribution and had a long history of selling drugs.”  The defendant was “clearly aware of the risks” posed by fentanyl yet continued distributing the drug.

Gossai, who has a history of drug sales convictions dating back more than a decade, sold fentanyl despite recognizing the dangers associated with the drug. Upon his arrest, Gossai admitted to law enforcement that, despite his sales of fentanyl, he was “scared” by the drug. Upon executing a search warrant at Gossai’s residence, law enforcement seized fentanyl in powdered and pill form; a digital scale with powdered residue; drug paraphernalia; and other illicit narcotics.

“Fentanyl continues to plague our community, and tragic deaths such as that of Derrick Hotchkiss are increasing exponentially,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Randy S. Grossman. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement and community outreach partners to reverse this terrible trend.”

“Justice has finally been served in the death of Derrick Hotchkiss due of the hard work of the men and women on DEA's NTF Team 10 and our law enforcement partners,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge John W. Callery.  “This case is a stark reminder to people selling drugs: If the drugs you sell cause someone to die, we will bring you to justice.”

Previously, defendants Christopher Emison and Jeffrey Alden Blair were also sentenced in connection with Hotchkiss’ death to 168 and 188 months in custody respectively. According to the government’s sentencing papers, Gossai sold the fatal dose of fentanyl to Blair who made the purchase for both Emison and himself. In turn, Emison sold the fatal dose directly to Hotchkiss shortly before his overdose death.

Acting U.S. Attorney Grossman praised prosecutor Larry Casper as well as the agents from Narcotics Task Force Team 10, a multi-agency team housed by DEA that was created in July 2018 to address drug overdose deaths in San Diego, for their efforts on these cases. 

For those who suffer from addiction, please know there is help. Call the Crisis line at 888-724-7240; it’s always open.

DEFENDANTS                                

Case Number 19cr3253-AJB

Andrew Samuel Daniel Gossai           Age: 33                       San Diego, California

Case Number 19cr3252-AJB                                                          

Jeffrey Alden Blair                             Age:  34                      San Diego, California

Christopher Glenn Emison                 Age: 33                       El Cajon, California

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Andrew Samuel Daniel Gossai and Jeffrey Alden Blair:         

Distribution of Fentanyl – Title 21 U.S.C. Section 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C)

Maximum Penalties – Mandatory minimum of 10 years, and maximum of life in prison and $10 million fine.

Christopher Glenn Emison

Sentenced to 168-months on Distribution of Fentanyl – Title 21 U.S.C. Section 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C) with maximum penalties – mandatory minimum of five years and maximum of 40 years in prison and $5 million fine.

INVESTIGATING AGENCIES

Drug Enforcement Administration

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Department of Homeland Security

California Department of Healthcare Services

San Diego Police Department

(The above-listed agencies are represented on DEA NTF Team 10)

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Press Release Number: 
CAS21-0524-Gossai
Updated May 24, 2021