Texas man linked to fentanyl death sentenced to 20 years in prison
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Texas man linked to fentanyl death sentenced to 20 years in prison

Texas man linked to fentanyl death sentenced to 20 years in prison

Fentanyl tablets are marked with the letter M and the number 30 and are sold by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – A Texas man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in a fentanyl trafficking conspiracy that led to the deaths of two men.

The first death occurred in May 2022 in Kermit, Texas. Court documents show law enforcement responded to the unattended death of a man in a home that was later attributed to a fentanyl overdose. The investigation revealed the victim and William Jake Childers, 39, of Midland, were communicating about selling counterfeit M-30 Oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl, the Justice Department said in a statement Wednesday.


In May 2023, Midland Police Department officers discovered an unconscious man inside the home, who died after being taken to a Midland hospital. The cause of death was also confirmed to be a fentanyl overdose, and investigators again linked the fentanyl pills to Childers, according to the Justice Department.

Childers was arrested during a traffic stop in Ranger, Texas, in October 2023. A search of his vehicle turned up 740 fentanyl-laced M-30 pills and a loaded firearm, the Justice Department said.

On January 5 of last year, Childers pleaded guilty in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas to a charge of conspiracy to possess and distribute a controlled substance.

“This office has once again prosecuted a case where fentanyl traffickers valued quick profits over human life,” said U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas. “Sadly, fentanyl continues to plague our communities and take the lives of our friends, neighbors, and loved ones. My office remains committed to vigorously pursuing fentanyl traffickers and seeking tough sentences as a deterrent to these criminals.”

The case was investigated by the El Paso office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

“Unfortunately, the poison that these dealers are selling is killing more and more Americans,” said Towanda R. Thorne-James, special agent in charge of the DEA’s El Paso office. “The public needs to know that the DEA is investigating these drug-related deaths. And if you kill someone by selling your poison, you will be held accountable for that death.”

The National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 107,543 people died from drug overdoses in the U.S. in 2023. Drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2023 decreased 3% from the 111,029 deaths estimated in 2022. A total of 74,702 of those deaths were caused by synthetic opioids — mostly fentanyl.

Co-defendant Jessi Cortez remains in custody awaiting sentencing, the Justice Department said.

The prosecutors in the case were Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joe Mahoney and Amy Hail.