A trio of Southwest Virginia residents who distributed pills containing fentanyl and were linked to teenage overdoses pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Abington.
The overdoses occurred in Wise County.
Paul Mason Perkins, 20, of Big Stone Gap, Austin Jeremiah Lane, 22, of Norton, and Cheyenne Cassie Carico, 20, of Norton, all pled guilty to one count of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl.
According to court documents, in one year, Perkins purchased thousands of pressed pills containing fentanyl online through a source located in California. Perkins ordered 1,000 pills at a time for $3,750 using social media platforms including Snapchat and Instagram. The pills were mailed to Perkins at his residence in Big Stone Gap. The pills were then distributed to other individuals in Wise County including Lane and Carico.
On November 24, 2021, a 17-year-old female and 18-year-old male were hospitalized due to the pressed pills containing fentanyl.
In early 2022, a U.S. postal inspector intercepted a package being sent to Perkins’ residence. The package contained approximately 1,000 pills that test positive for fentanyl. Officers found approximately $6,000 in cash, a loaded firearm, and 200 pressed pills at Perkins’ residence.
The Wise County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service were in charge of the investigation.