Heroin Dealer Who Delivered Fatal Dose Sentenced to 42 Months in Prison
Federal Prosecutors Join with Tribal Leaders to Combat Opioid Epidemic in Indian Country
A member of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe who sold a fatal dose of heroin to a young Quileute Tribal member was sentenced today to 42 months in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. CASEY MARIE WARD, 28, and two co-defendants sold heroin to 28-year-old Felisha Jackson on September 5, 2015. Moments after that sale, Jackson was found unresponsive by her 9-year-old daughter. Paramedics tried to save Jackson, but she died a few days later at a hospital. Social media records reveal that WARD had reached out to Jackson, asking if she knew anyone interested in buying drugs -- it was that contact that led to WARD delivering the fatal dose. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle said, “it is important that the message go out that if you are going to engage in this type of activity and someone dies as a result, you will receive a significant prison term…. A person lost their life…. Those who are addicted and using are playing a game of Russian roulette. There will be a bullet in the chamber and somebody is going to die.”
“The heroin epidemic is taking a particularly heavy toll in Tribal communities so we are working closely with our Tribal partners to do our part to combat opioid abuse,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “Cases involving small amounts of heroin are not routinely charged in federal court, but in appropriate cases where dealing on Tribal lands leads to death, we are committed to seeking just punishment. As Tribes work to provide treatment and wellness resources, law enforcement must do its part to deter those who target Tribal communities and cause tragedies like those in this case.”
According to records filed in the case, Felisha Jackson had struggled to stay clean for her three small children. Another drug user said the heroin sold by WARD and her co-defendants proved particularly powerful. After Jackson’s daughter found her mother unresponsive, she got her grandfather, and he performed CPR in an ultimately futile effort to save his daughter.
WARD too has a history of substance abuse. Judge Settle recommended that she receive drug treatment both in prison and as part of her supervised release following incarceration.
Members of the Quileute Tribal Council submitted a statement to the Court and attended the sentencing hearing. “Our community was devastated by the death of Felisha Jackson, a 28 year old mother of three,” the Tribal Council wrote. It further explained that “[t]he Quileute Tribe is attempting to stem the tide of substance abuse in several ways, including coordinating with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies . . ., providing chemical dependency treatment, and working on several initiatives to promote wellness and prevent addiction.”
Co-defendants Hugh Brown and Edward Foster are scheduled for sentencing later this month.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Quileute Tribal Police. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Manheim.
If you, or someone you know, would like information about resources for those suffering from a heroin or other substance abuse addiction, you can call the 24 hour Washington Recovery Helpline at 1 866-789-1511, or go to the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Institute website (link is external). If you are between 13 and 20 years old you can also call Teen Link at 1866TEENLINK (1 866 833 6546) to talk to a teen volunteer.