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Date: 05-08-2024

Case Style:


Case Number: 5:23-cr-00195

Judge: Jodi W. Dishman

Court: The United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma

Plaintiff's Attorney: The United States Attorney’s Office for Oklahoma City

Defendant's Attorney: Jason W. Perkins

Gary W. Wood for Nicholas Lance Sweeten

Federal Public Defender for Sierra Cheyenne Mandrell

Jay D. Husbands for Pamela Kathryn Payne


Oklahoma City, Oklahoma criminal defense lawyer represented the Defendants charged with a Fatal Fentanyl Overdose

Fatal Fentanyl Overdose in Indian Country Lands Four Defendants in Federal Prison for More Than 33 Years Collectively

Four defendants were sentenced to serve 406 months collectively for their respective roles in the distribution of fentanyl that resulted in the death of another person in Indian country.

In October 2023, DUSTIN ELLIS, 32, PAMELA PAYNE, 40, and SIERRA MANDRELL, 30, all of Grady County, were each charged with one count of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death. Another defendant, NICHOLAS SWEETEN, 27, also of Grady County, was charged separately in October for his involvement in the drug conspiracy. According to court documents, on or about April 2, 2023, the four defendants conspired to distribute pills containing fentanyl, which resulted in the fentanyl overdose death of a Grady County resident on April 3, 2023.

On October 5, 2023, Ellis pleaded guilty to his role in the distribution of fentanyl. On November 2, 2023, Payne, Mandrell, and Sweeten each pleaded guilty to distribution of fentanyl. As part of their pleas, Payne and Mandrell admitted to distributing a substance containing fentanyl and Sweeten admitted to facilitating the deal.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Jodi W. Dishman sentenced Ellis to serve 240 months, Payne to serve 100 months, and Sweeten to serve 30 months in federal prison. On May 6, 2024, Mandrell was sentenced to serve 36 months in federal prison. Each of the four defendants will also serve five years of supervised release upon their release from prison.

As part of the sentencings, the Court described fentanyl as “the single deadliest drug threat our country has ever encountered.”

“This case is yet another tragic reminder of the damage that one fentanyl-laced pill can cause,” said U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester. “My office will continue to seek justice for families suffering with the loss of loved ones caused by fentanyl and hold accountable all involved in distributing this deadly poison.”

“DEA Oklahoma City is proud to stand with our numerous law enforcement partners in Central Oklahoma and champion the work that led to the significant sentence in this investigation,” said Eduardo A. Chávez, Special Agent in Charge of DEA Dallas, which oversees operations in Oklahoma. “Ms. Mandrell is being held accountable for the poison that found its way into our neighborhoods by her hand. Whether it is one pill or 1,000 pills of fentanyl, the DEA will never cease its efforts to rid these drugs from the streets of Oklahoma.”

This case is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Grady County Sheriff’s Office, in collaboration with the Chickasaw Nation Office of Tribal Justice Administration. Special Assistant U. S. Attorney Kaleigh Blackwell and Assistant U. S. Attorney Elizabeth Joynes prosecuted the case.


Defendants were found guilty and

El lis to serve 240 months,

Payne to serve 100 months,

Sweeten to serve 30 months.

Mandrell to serve 36 months.

All in federal prison.

Plaintiff's Experts:

Defendant's Experts:

Comments: This case is in federal court because Ellis is a member of the Choctaw Nation, Payne is a member of the Chickasaw Nation, and the crimes occurred within the boundaries of the Chickasaw Nation.

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