“This case is an example of the investigative and prosecution work being done by law enforcement and criminal justice departments in California to combat a devastating and deadly trend that starts with the selling of fentanyl.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
SAN DIEGO— On November 22, 2021, San Diego resident Brandon Jacob Shepherd, 26, was sentenced in federal court to 13 years and 11 months in prison for selling fentanyl that resulted in the death of an 18-year-old San Diego woman, identified in court records as P.E.R., in January of 2020.
Shepherd previously admitted that on the evening of January 14, 2020, he agreed to coordinate a sale of fentanyl to the victim with co-defendant Leon Chester Kolin III. That evening, Shepherd sold P.E.R. and Kolin a gram of fentanyl for $100 or $120, in the hotel room that Shepherd was staying in and using to distribute fentanyl. After the sale, Shepherd smoked fentanyl with P.E.R. and Kolin; P.E.R. overdosed at that time, but did not die. Kolin took P.E.R. home, with additional fentanyl resin that Shepherd provided. After P.E.R. left, Shepherd told a friend that she nearly “fell out,” meaning she had almost died. Days later, P.E.R. smoked some of the fentanyl resin provided by Shepherd, overdosing and dying. She was 18 years old at the time of her death.
Special Agents and Task Force Officers with the Drug Enforcement Administration led the investigation into P.E.R.’s death and identified Shepherd as the source of the fentanyl. Investigators subsequently searched Shepherd’s hotel room. There, they found packages containing fentanyl powder, counterfeit blue “M30” pharmaceutical tablets laced with fentanyl, digital scales bearing fentanyl residue, cash, and unused plastic baggies. They also found and arrested co-defendants Anthony Gascon and Christopher Barksdale, with whom Shepherd was engaged in an ongoing fentanyl distribution scheme. These two defendants, as well as Kolin, were sentenced on an early date.
This case is the result of ongoing efforts by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the San Diego Police Department, and the California Department of Health Care Services to investigate and prosecute the distribution of dangerous illegal drugs—fentanyl in particular—that result in overdose deaths.