San Diego, CA–A San Diego resident 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.
Brandon Jacob Shepherd, 26 received one month of custodial credit for time served in a local facility before being transferred to federal custody, for a total period of 168 months in custody.
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 earlier.
“Tragically, fentanyl has again cut down the life of a bright and promising future here in our community, whose loss will forever be felt by her family,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “This Office will continue to aggressively pursue and prosecute anyone who seeks to profit, or even to further their own addiction, by peddling this poison.
“The United States just recorded the highest number of drug overdose deaths in a 12-month period, with over 100,000 Americans losing their lives,” said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Shelly S. Howe. “Individuals like Brandon Shepherd are fueling the fire of the drug epidemic. His sentencing today sends a stark reminder that if you choose to sell drugs and risk the lives of others, you will be held accountable.”