California Man to Serve 17 Years for Supplying Fentanyl Causing Wise County Overdoses
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
ABINGDON, Va. – A California man, who supplied the fentanyl linked to teenage overdoses that occurred in Wise County, Virginia, was sentenced yesterday to 17 years in federal prison.
Alexander Ortiz, 26, a.k.a. “LoLife,” of Fullerton, Calif., pleaded guilty in January 2023 to one count of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
According to court documents, Ortiz and his co-conspirators, Jorge Efrain Perez and Destiny Raeann Perez, were the suppliers of fentanyl for Paul Mason Perkins, Aaron Stidham, Austin Jeremiah Lane, Cheyenne Cassie Carico, and others, all of Southwest Virginia.
Between November 2020, and June 2022, Ortiz sold thousands of pressed pills containing fentanyl to Perkins and others. Ortiz sold 1,000 pills at a time to Perkins using the social media platforms Snapchat and Instagram, making sales to Perkins every few weeks. Ortiz had the pills mailed to Perkins at his residence in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. Perkins then distributed the pills to other individuals in Wise County, including multiple sales to co-conspirators Lane and Carico. Jorge Perez and Destiny Perez assisted Ortiz in mailing the illicit packages from California to Virginia, as well as other locations throughout the country.
On November 24, 2021, Perkins sold Carico and Lane three pressed pills. Lane and Carico had purchased two of the pills for a 17-year-old female the two knew from school. Later that night, the 17-year-old female was hospitalized due to a drug overdose. Later the same night, an 18-year-old male who had purchased pressed pills containing fentanyl from Perkins was hospitalized due to a drug overdose. Further investigation revealed that pills from both overdoses were linked to Ortiz.
Search warrants executed at Ortiz’s residences in Los Banos and Santa Ana, California, resulted in the recovery of over 6,000 pressed pills containing fentanyl, approximately $60,000 cash, and 13 firearms.
United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh, Craig B. Kailimai, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division, and Tommy D. Coke, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Atlanta Division made the announcement.
The Wise County Sheriff’s Office, Norton Police Department, Southwest Drug Task Force (consisting of the Wise County Sheriff’s Office, Scott County Sheriff’s Office, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Norton Police Department, Big Stone Gap Police Department, and Virginia State Police), Orange County (CA) Sheriff’s Department, Stanislaus County (CA) Sheriff’s Department, Santa Ana (CA) Police Department, Anaheim (CA) Police Department, United States Postal Inspection Service, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives are investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lena Busscher is prosecuting the case.
Updated December 6, 2023