San Diego, CA–A local man was sentenced Monday by a U.S. district judge to 188-months in prison for supplying the fentanyl that led to the fatal overdose of 45-year old Derrick Hotchkiss, a long-time rugby player for the San Diego Old Aztecs Rugby Football Club.
Through his plea agreement to U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia, Jeffrey Alden Blair admitted that the fentanyl he dealt caused Hotchkiss’ death and that he knowingly sold in excess of 400 grams of fentanyl.
Upon arrest, Blair told law enforcement that he understood that fentanyl could cause death and was “no joke.” Blair was arrested in an open storage unit in which agents located more than 500 grams of fentanyl and other drugs and drug-related items.
“Recidivist drug dealers who supply this poison in our community while recognizing the potentially lethal consequences must be held accountable,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “We will continue to aggressively pursue fentanyl traffickers in overdose cases to ensure justice is fully served.”
“This defendant dealt in more than drugs. He dealt in death,” said Special Agent in Charge of the San Diego DEA John W. Callery. “This sentencing should serve as a warning to other death dealers that we will continue to investigate fentanyl overdose deaths and those dealers who knowingly provide these poisons in San Diego and Imperial County.”
Previously, defendant Christopher Emison was also sentenced in connection with Hotchkiss’ death to 168-months in custody. In a related case, defendant Andrew Gossai will be sentenced on April 26. According to the government’s sentencing papers, Gossai sold the fatal dose of fentanyl to Blair who made the purchase for both Emison and himself. In turn, Emison sold the fatal dose to Hotchkiss shortly before his overdose death.