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Date: 05-24-2024

Case Style:

United States of America v. Luis Eduardo Navarrete

Case Number: 3:23-CR-067

Judge: Ed Kinkeade

Court: The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

Plaintiff's Attorney: The United States Attorney’s Office for Dallas

Defendant's Attorney:

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Description:

Dallas, Texas criminal defense lawyer represented the Defendant charged with Ignoring Deaths

Carrollton Juvenile Overdose Defendant Who Ignored Deaths Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison



The first defendant charged in the Carrollton juvenile fentanyl overdose scandal – which claimed the lives of at least four North Texas teenagers – was sentenced today to 20 years in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton.

Luis Eduardo Navarrete, 22, was charged via criminal complaint in February 2023 and indicted the following month. He pleaded guilty in November 2023 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a Schedule II controlled substance and distribution of a controlled substance to a person under 21 years of age and was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade.

“Even as children overdosed and died around him, this defendant continued to distribute poisonous pills to juvenile dealers to sell in grade schools,” said U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton. “Brushing off the pain of his young victims’ family and friends, he delivered fentanyl into the hands of children, extinguishing lives before they’d even really begun. The callousness he displayed is truly chilling. Although we can never bring these kids back, we hope today’s verdict is a balm to their families’ unbearable suffering.”

“Today’s a very important day for DEA Dallas and all of those who were involved in this investigation. Defendant Navarrete was one of the first individuals identified in what later became a complex ring of various fentanyl traffickers selling poison in our neighborhoods,” said DEA Dallas Special Agent in Charge Eduardo A.. Chavez. “While we cannot bring back the lives lost and undo so much tragedy amongst the affected families, we are proud that justice has been served and remained committed to fighting illicit fentanyl trafficking in North Texas.”

“Today’s sentencing of twenty years, I feel, is appropriate for the seriousness of Navarrete’s crimes. Navarrete and others were responsible for causing enormous heartache and sorrow to many families. It is appropriate to show that the Carrollton Police Department and the DOJ remain serious about protecting our citizens, and especially our youth, from drug dealers who think they can prey on our children by pushing poison on them. I am grateful for our partnership with the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas and DEA-Dallas; without their help, this would not have been possible.”

According to court documents, Mr. Navarrete and several co-conspirators trafficked fentanyl pills to a network of juvenile drug dealers, who then sold the pills – stamped M-30 to resemble oxycodone – to students at R.L. Turner High School, Dewitt Perry Middle School, and Dan Long Middle School.

At Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, a DEA task force officer testified that Mr. Navarrete began trafficking fentanyl in August 2022. When he was placed on a GPS ankle monitor following a domestic altercation, he relied on two drug runners, co-defendants Rafael Soliz Jr. and Robert Gaitan, to pick up counterfeit M-30 pills from his sources and deliver them to his residence in Carrollton.

According to evidence presented at the hearing, Mr. Navarrete continued to supply fentanyl pills to children even after he was told they were causing overdoses.

On Jan. 26, 2023, a juvenile dealer informed Mr. Navarrete that one of his counterfeit M30 pills had caused a 14-year-old middle school student, identified in court documents by the initials J.P., to “pass away.” The dealer even included a photograph of first responders at the victim’s residence attempting, unsuccessfully, to resuscitate him. Despite being told that a minor had died from pills that he was distributing, Navarrete continued to distribute the pills to adult and minor customers.

Less than a week later, on Feb. 1, 2023, a different juvenile dealer informed Mr. Navarrete that a 17-year-old high school student who had taken one of his counterfeit M-30 pills “couldn’t wake up.”

“Od bro… wtf happening,” the dealer wrote. “Don’t tell me it was u that sold em like 18 30s … that’s another youngin dead bro.”

After being told of the second overdose death, Mr. Navarrete continued to traffic fentanyl, unabated, until his arrest two days later.

At Thursday’s sentencing hearing, the DEA task force officer testified that the fentanyl Mr. Navarrete sold originated from the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico. Over the course of the investigation, he said, officers and agents made roughly 40 adult and juvenile arrests and seized more than 1.2 million fentanyl pills off the street. The conspiracy resulted in at least 14 juvenile overdoses, four of them fatal.

Mr. Navarrete is one of 11 defendants charged federally in connection with the case. Mr. Navarrete’s main supplier, Jason Xavier Villanueva, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, and his drug runners, Mr. Soliz and Mr. Gaitan, were sentenced to 15 to and five years respectively.

At Mr. Navarrete’s sentencing hearing, the mother of one of the late juvenile victims testified:

“He was the soul of our home,” she said of her son in Spanish. “I would like for everyone who’s present to know that these people who sell fentanyl, they destroy families…. On behalf of all those children who have passed away due to fentanyl, this has to stop.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Field Office and the Carrollton Police Department conducted the investigation with the assistance of School Resource Officers from the Carrollton – Farmer’s Branch Independent School. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rick Calvert and Phelesa Guy are prosecuting the case.

Note: Illicitly produced, fentanyl-laced pills often look similar to legitimate prescription pills like Oxycontin or Percocet, but can pose significantly more danger. On the street, these pills are often referred to as “M30s” (a reference to the markings on some of the pills), “blues,” “perks,” “yerks,” “china girls,” or “TNT.” DEA research shows that six out of ten pills laced with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose. One pill can kill. For resources, visit https://www.dea.gov/onepill.

Outcome:

Defendant was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in federal prison

Plaintiff's Experts:

Defendant's Experts:

Comments: Digested by

Kent Morlan



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