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Press Release

Four Oklahomans Plead Guilty to Distributing Fentanyl Causing Death of Grady County Resident in Indian Country

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY – DUSTIN ELLIS, 32, PAMELA PAYNE, 40, SIERRA MANDRELL, 29, and NICHOLAS SWEETEN, 27, all of Grady County, recently pleaded guilty for their roles in the distribution of fentanyl that resulted in the death of another person within Indian Country in Grady County, announced U. S. Attorney Robert J. Troester.

In October, Ellis, Payne, and Mandrell were each charged with one count of distribution of fentanyl.  Similarly, Sweeten was charged on October 11, 2023, for his involvement in the drug conspiracy.

On April 3, 2023, a resident of Grady County died due to a fentanyl overdose. According to court documents, on or about April 2, 2023, these four defendants conspired to distribute pills containing fentanyl to another person, which resulted in the death of the Grady County resident.

Yesterday, Payne, Mandrell, and Sweeten each pleaded guilty to distribution of fentanyl. As part of their pleas, Payne and Mandrell admitted to distributing a substance containing fentanyl and Sweeten admitted to facilitating the deal. On October 5, 2023, Ellis pleaded guilty to his role in the distribution of fentanyl.

“It only takes one deadly fentanyl-laced pill to cause a fatal overdose,”  said U. S. Attorney Robert J. Troester.  “My office has and will continue to aggressively pursue those who dispense this deadly poison to hold them accountable to the significant consequences that follow and protect the public from further harm.”

“Those who distribute drugs do so for one purpose, to make a profit,” said Eduardo A. Chávez, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Dallas Division, which covers Oklahoma.  “The DEA will never stop seeking justice for those who prey on others’ addictions.”

This case is in federal court because Ellis is a member of the Choctaw Nation, and Payne is a member of the Chickasaw Nation, and the crimes occurred within the boundaries of the Chickasaw Nation.

At sentencing, each defendant faces up to 20 years in federal prison, and a fine of up to $1,000,000.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Grady County Sheriff’s Office, in collaboration with the Chickasaw Nation Office of Tribal Justice Administration. Special Assistant U. S. Attorney Kaleigh Blackwell and Assistant U. S. Attorney Elizabeth Joynes are prosecuting the case.

Reference is made to public filings for additional information.

Updated November 2, 2023