Feds Charge Casper Man With Fentanyl Distribution
A Casper man was charged in federal court with one fentanyl-related count on Monday .
The federal charge is on top of three fentanyl-related counts against him in state district court.
Ronnell Robertson, 35, heard the single count of distributing 100 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl on Oct. 3, U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Shickich said in the Ewing Kerr Federal Courthouse.
If convicted, Robertson faces between five and 20 years imprisonment, up to a $5 million fine, and four years to life supervised probation after his release from custody, Shickich said.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 stronger than morphine. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimated that from October 2020 to October 2021, more than 150,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, with two-thirds of those related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
According to the Dec. 6 criminal complaint accompanying the charge filed by a U.S. Postal Inspector, the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation in January 2022 began looking at fentanyl in the Casper area.
A DCI agent learned that a Jan. 7 overdose victim bought what they thought was an oxycodone pill from Robertson, but that a lab analysis determined the remnant of that pill was fentanyl, according to the complaint.
The agent obtained a search warrant for Robertson's phone and heard other transactions.
The agent contacted the U.S.P.S. inspector, and asked them to review Robertson's mail history. Five previously delivered Priority Mail parcels from the Tacoma, Washington, area had been sent to Robertson's address, according to the complaint.
On Sept. 30, the Postal inspector learned of a parcel scheduled for delivery to Robertson's address, and a U.S. magistrate judge granted a search warrant for that parcel.
On Oct. 3, the DCI agent and the Postal inspector searched the parcel and found 110.8 grams (nearly 4 ounces) of about 1,000 blue pills marked as oxycodone, according to the criminal complaint. "A field test showed that the pills were positive for fentanyl."
On Nov. 16, the Postal inspector interviewed the overdose victim, who bought oxycodone and marijuana from Robertson in recent years and resumed purchases in early 2022. The fourth or fifth time she bought oxycodone -- $28 per pill -- she overdosed and was taken by ambulance to a hospital.
She told Robertson that she thought the pills may have contained fentanyl, and he responded that he no idea about that. He again provided pills to her and she again overdosed resulting in a trip to the emergency room.
On Oct. 31, the DCI agent obtained a search warrant for Robertson's cell phone and observed more than 5,000 messages with 46 contacts that contained what he believed to be narcotics/criminal-related conversations.
Robertson also has been charged in state District Court with three fentanyl-related crimes:
- Conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance, punishable by up 20 years imprisonment. This occurred on Oct. 13.
- Delivery of a controlled substance, punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment. This occurred from Jan. 1 to Jan. 31.
- Possession of a controlled substance, punishable by up to seven years imprisonment. This occurred from Sept. 30 to Oct. 5.