Three Sentenced in Austin for Distribution of Fentanyl Resulting in 18 Year Old’s Death
AUSTIN, Texas – An Austin man and two co-conspirators were sentenced in a federal court in Austin for their roles in the distribution of fentanyl resulting in death.
According to court documents, David Lee Jr., 46, of Austin, Virginia Zepeda, 43, of Austin, and Jackie Lynne Chester, 37, of Taylor, were identified as suppliers of counterfeit oxycodone tablets and other counterfeit prescription pills in the investigation of the overdose death of an 18-year-old Coupland male. Video surveillance footage revealed the victim approaching Lee’s vehicle at a gas station and engaging in a hand-to-hand exchange with Chester through a window of the vehicle. Four and a half tablets of counterfeit oxycodone were recovered from the victim’s residence following his death. As part of the investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration agents conducted controlled-buys with Lee and Zepeda, indicating that the two were actively distributing fentanyl in the form of counterfeit oxycodone following the victim’s death.
Lee was sentenced to 240 months in prison; Zepeda was sentenced to 135 months in prison; and Chester was sentenced to 108 months in prison.
“These drug dealers knowingly sold several counterfeit pills, each containing incredibly lethal doses of fentanyl, to an unsuspecting victim, tragically leading to the poisoning and death of an 18-year-old,” said U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza for the Western District of Texas. “This is another case in which a young victim leaves behind their loving family and friends, while the criminals themselves walked away with the intent to cause more harm. Thanks to our local and federal law enforcement partners, these three will now spend decades off the streets, unable to inflict any further damage in our communities.”
“These defendants were blinded by greed and sold fake fentanyl pills for a quick profit, and as a result, the victim and his family have suffered an immeasurable loss,” said Special Agent in Charge Daniel C. Comeaux of the Drug Enforcement Administration Houston Division. “Fentanyl is the deadliest drug threat facing our country today, and it takes just a small amount to take someone’s precious life away. The disregard for human life by these defendants is apparent, and we hope these sentences serve as a closure to the family now devastated by the loss of their 18-year-old son.”
“It is the goal of the Williamson County Sheriff's Office Organized Crime Unit to arrest and prosecute fentanyl dealers to the fullest extent of the law,” said Sheriff Mike Gleason for the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office. “Fentanyl poisonings have increased in central Texas, and we will continue to use all resources available to us, including the DEA and USAO. Task Force members are committed to serving the victims, seeking justice, and providing closure for their families.”
The DEA, Williamson County Sheriff’s Office and Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Marshall prosecuted the case.