Dealer gets 30 years in prison after intentionally selling laced drugs

Drug dealer sentenced to 30 years in prison for knowingly selling spiked drugs

After more than seven years of operating a drug delivery service, a man has been sentenced to prison for selling tainted drugs that caused the deaths of three New York residents in a single day.

On Thursday, Billy Ortega, who was also known as “Jason” as per the Southern District of New York’s U.S. Attorney’s Office, received his sentence after being found guilty of various charges. These charges included conspiracy to distribute, possession of a firearm, and distribution of drugs that resulted in death.

According to a recent news release by the office, Ortega, who is 37 years old, has been given a 30-year prison sentence and will also face five years of supervised release for his role in a drug delivery service that caused three fentanyl poisoning deaths.

As per the court records and evidence brought up during the trial, Ortega employed a team comprising of his near and dear ones to sell illegal drugs in New York City from 2015 to 2022. Ortega would operate the drug delivery service through text messages and assume the role of a dispatcher, managing the shipment between clients and delivery personnel.

According to a recent news release, Ortega deliberately added fentanyl to a substandard batch of cocaine in March 2021. This tainted substance was then sold to a minimum of five customers who were unaware of the presence of fentanyl in the product they had purchased.

Before the delivery of the drugs that claimed the lives of three individuals on March 17th, another customer made Ortega aware that an individual who had consumed the same tainted cocaine the day before had suffered an overdose and required hospitalization. The affected individual was given naloxone, a medication utilized to counteract the effects of an opioid overdose.

According to court documents, Ortega was responsible for arranging the distribution of the laced drugs to Julia Ghahramani, Amanda Scher, and Ross Mtangi. Tragically, all three individuals lost their lives that same day.

During the day, Ortega reached out to another drug dealer to inquire if he was interested in giving the cocaine to some girls. In a text message, he informed the dealer that others had deemed it too potent. Despite this setback, Ortega persisted in his drug trafficking activities for an additional year until he was eventually apprehended.

According to the news release, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams stated that the conduct of Ortega was cruel and extremely wicked, and, therefore, deserved a substantial sentence. The sentence delivered a solid message to the fentanyl traffickers responsible for the fentanyl epidemic in our communities that they will face severe consequences.

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