MOUNT VERNON, Va. — A 23-year-old Mount Vernon woman has been sentenced to seven years in prison for selling fentanyl connected to at least two overdoses, including a 17-year-old from Bellingham.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa Gorman said Rosaliana Lopez-Rodriguez sold counterfeit oxycodone pills tainted with fentanyl in Skagit and Whatcom counties.
Gorman said Lopez-Rodriguez continued to sell the pills to the 17-year-old, even after learning that the teenager’s friend almost died from an overdose.
According to court records, a family member found the 17-year-old unresponsive on Nov. 9, 2019. He could not be revived. Investigators found a whole and a partial pill near the teen.
The pills were designed to look like 30- milligram oxycodone pills with the letter “M” and “30” stamped on them. However, they were not genuine and were tainted with fentanyl.
Similar pills have been linked to other overdose deaths throughout the Puget Sound region, including two students at Skyline High School in 2019. Gorman said overdose deaths in the U.S. are at an all-time high from fentanyl.
Lopez-Rodriguez and her supplier, 22-year-old Jiovanni Nunez, have been in custody since their arrests in November and December 2019. In her plea agreement, Lopez-Rodriguez admitted that she sold fentanyl pills to an undercover law enforcement officer and said she received the pills from Nunez.
Lopez-Rodriguez told investigators Nunez provided the pills that killed the 17-year-old from Bellingham. Nunez is scheduled for sentencing on October 1, 2021.