Stracuzzi admitted to the court that he was in fact the one who sold the deceased the fentanyl pills disguised as oxycodone, which eventually resulted in the death of the unnamed resident of San Diego.
In a case of fentanyl turned deadly, suspected drug dealer Christopher James Stracuzzi has confessed to dealing the drug that resulted in the fatal overdose of an unnamed resident of San Diego in court.
He is accused of selling 12 tablets believed to be oxycodone to the deceased and his female roommate. On July 18th, the sale quickly turned fatal when the deceased collapsed sometime after taking the pill Stracuzzi sold him, his roommate who also took one of the pills herself tried to resuscitate him with CPR when she noticed he wasn’t breathing. This failed and at 8:43 PM she called 911, some paramedics were dispatched and their efforts at trying to revive him proved futile, some minutes after at 9:12, he was declared dead.
Investigations from the Medical Examiner’s Office proved that the death was caused by a fentanyl overdose, which was confirmed after a Drug EnforcementAdministration (DEA) lab tested the leftover pills.
DEA Special Agent Karen Flowers said, “We are living in a world where drug cartels are getting rich from making counterfeit pills that contain fentanyl and we are paying a heavy price, in blood.” she cautioned,
There is no quality control or FDA oversight. If you didn’t get that pill directly from a pharmacy with a prescription in your name, you won’t be able to tell if the pill is real or counterfeit. Even the experts can’t tell until it is examined in a laboratory. When you crush or swallow that blue pill that looks like a 30 mg oxycodone tablet, you are risking your life. I’ll say it again, your dealer, BFF, lover or classmate may become your murderer and the medical examiner your personal physician. Life is precious. Don’t gamble yours away for a quick high that sends you home from the party in a body bag.”
In recent times, the U.S is facing an opioid crisis which has since gravitated towards the tampering of known opioid substances with fentanyl to increase its potency and save the dealers cost. While fentanyl is well-known for its numbing properties, it is also an extremelyvolatile drug which when taken without the correct dosage can be instantly fatal.
U.S Attorney Robert Brewer, whose office is prosecuting this case commented on the matter, warning dealers that they will be held accountable for the overdoses of their customers.
But we can’t reverse the tragedy of the shattered lives of the victims and their families. I cannot say this any more strongly or directly: Don’t take these black market pills. You may pay the ultimate price for this terrible mistake.
Homeland Security threw their weight behind this message with San Diego’s Dave Shaw adding,
Tragic cases of overdose deaths caused by fentanyl will leave scars on families in our communities for decades to come. Homeland Security Investigations is committed to working with our partners to remove this scourge from our streets. We urge everyone to take the time to learn about these deadly drugs and take the steps necessary to protect their families and loved ones.
Prosecution for Stracuzzi’s case will be led by Assistant U.S Attorney Sherri Walker Hobson and sentencing will take place on December 2nd in federal court in San Diego presided over by District Judge Thomas J. Whelan.
He is charged with one count of Distribution of Fentanyl resulting in Death and another count of Aiding and Abetting, this carries a mandatory maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a minimum penalty of 20 years behind bars. As always, sentencing will follow approved federal sentencing guidelines to give the most fitting sentence.
Investigations were aided by the DEA, HSI, local law enforcement in San Diego, the FBI and the Department of Health Care Services.