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Oregon men sentenced to federal prison for roles in fatal fentanyl overdoses

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(The Center Square) – Two men from Oregon received a federal prison sentence for their roles in separate fatal fentanyl overdose deaths on Tuesday.

Beaverton resident Billy Ray Trueblood, 33, received a 41-month federal prison sentence, plus four years of supervised release for distributing fentanyl that killed a man; and Monmouth resident Javen James Pedro, 71, got 75 months in federal prison, plus six years of supervised release, for distributing fentanyl that killed a teenager in Salem, Oregon, according to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

Investigators from the Westside Interagency Narcotics Team (WIN) responded to a fatal overdose of a man in his early thirties found unresponsive by his roommates in early March 2019. An Oregon State Crime Lab autopsy confirmed the man died of a fentanyl overdose.

An investigation found that the victim became addicted to opioids because he used prescription painkillers in college to deal with sports injuries. However, the victim had been buying drugs from Trueblood since college and had been recently texting him about purchasing “blues,” which are counterfeit Oxycodone pills manufactured with fentanyl.

In the days after the victim’s fatal overdose, investigators tried to find Trueblood. However, they could not do so until an investigator saw him on television at a Portland Trailblazers basketball game.

Another investigator confirmed that this man was Trueblood; investigators informed the police officers at the game, who subsequently arrested him.

At the time of his arrest, Trueblood possessed a large amount of cash and several different types of pills, some of which resembled those found in the dead victim’s bedroom.

In November 2020, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a three-count indictment that charged Trueblood with “distributing fentanyl, distributing fentanyl resulting in death, and possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl,” according to the release.

Trueblood pleaded guilty to distributing fentanyl on May 30, 2023.

Meanwhile, in the Pedro case, the Salem Police Department responded to the overdose death of a 15-year-old on February 24, 2022. The minor had bought and consumed counterfeit Oxycodone pills containing fentanyl. Video surveillance footage from a neighbor showed the victim buying the pills from a person later determined to be Pedro.

That same day, investigators found and arrested Pedro in Monmouth after he admitted to selling the lethal drugs to the minor the previous day. He also admitted to selling that same minor drugs at least five times previously.

Pedro was charged by criminal complaint with distributing fentanyl on February 24, 2022. Less than a month later, a federal grand jury indicted him on the same charge.

Then, on February 6, 2024, Pedro pleaded guilty to “one-count superseding criminal information charging him with distributing a controlled substance to a person under the age of 21,” according to a release.

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