Fentanyl Distributer Tied to 13-Year-Old’s Overdose Death Pleads Guilty
DALLAS, TX - A drug distributer who was selling fentanyl-laced counterfeit M30 pills to a Carrollton middle schooler shortly before her fatal overdose pleaded guilty today to a federal drug crime, announced Eduardo A. Chávez, Special Agent in Charge of DEA Dallas
Rafael Soliz, Jr., 23, was indicted in March. He pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl before U.S. Magistrate Judge Renee Harris Toliver.
“Anyone selling fentanyl to children will find themselves becoming a top priority for the Drug Enforcement Administration,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Eduardo A. Chávez. “The DEA will continue to focus our resources on stopping this deadly threat from reaching and causing more harm to our next generation.”
“My heart aches for the victim in this case – a promising young girl who’d barely entered her teens. The defendant not only sold her fentanyl but also taught her how to ingest it. In essence, he encouraged a mere child to snort a terrifyingly potent, highly addictive drug – and then urged her to cover for him with law enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton. “The Northern District of Texas is pulling out all the stops to rid the streets of dealers and keep fentanyl out of the hands of our kids. Our community cannot endure much more of this.”
“We will never stop fighting to protect our community from this dangerous drug. I’m proud of the men and women of the Carrollton Police Department, who are working tirelessly to rid the community of this poison. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family,” said Carrollton Police Chief Roberto Arredondo.
According to plea papers, Mr. Soliz admitted he sold fentanyl to both street-level dealers and directly to users, including children.
Mr. Soliz used an Instagram account to communicate with both adult and minor customers interested in purchasing counterfeit M30 pills containing fentanyl. On Nov. 30, Mr. Soliz responded via Instagram messenger to a 13-year-old girl who asked him if she could buy “percs.” Soliz agreed and delivered the pills to her residence. He then advised her how to snort them.
A few days later, upon discovering that the child, a student at Dewitt Perry Middle School, was just 13, he expressed dismay at her age but agreed to continue selling to her if she would “keep it on the down low” and deny he was her dealer if she ever got caught. On December 9, 2022, he advised her to “delete our chat” and instead use Instagram Vanish Mode.
Two days later, the child was found dead in her Carrollton bedroom. An autopsy revealed she’d died from a toxic combination of fentanyl and cough medicine.
In his plea papers, Mr. Soliz stipulated that he personally distributed approximately 1,500 fentanyl pills to adults and juveniles, including the 13 year-old victim. He stated he dealt hundreds of pills directly to Luis Eduardo Navarrete, one of the first traffickers charged in the wake of the Carrollton juvenile fentanyl overdoses.
Mr. Soliz is the fifth defendant charged in the wake of the Carrollton / Flower Mound juvenile overdose investigation to enter a guilty plea. Jason Xavier Villanueva, Magaly Cano, Donovan Jude Andrews and Stephen Paul Brinson pleaded guilty earlier this year; three other defendants, including Mr. Navarrete, have been charged but not yet convicted. (All are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.)
Mr. Soliz now faces up to 40 years in federal prison. Under the terms of his plea agreement, he may be called upon to testify in court.
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Field Division and the Carrollton Police Department conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Carrollton - Farmer’s Branch Independent School District. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rick Calvert and Phelesa Guy are prosecuting the case.
Note: Illicitly produced, fentanyl-laced pills often look similar to legitimate prescription pills like Oxycontin or Percocet, but can pose significantly more danger. On the street, these pills are often referred to as “M30s” (a reference to the markings on some of the pills), “blues,” “perks,” “yerks,” “china girls,” or “TNT.” DEA research shows that six out of ten pills laced with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose. One pill can kill. For resources, visit https://www.dea.gov/onepill.