COEUR D’ALENE – Antoinne James Holmes, 23, of Cusick, Washington, was sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison for distribution of fentanyl resulting in serious bodily injury and death, announced U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill sentenced Holmes to 151 months in prison and ordered that he pay $3,270 in restitution. Holmes, upon completion of his prison time, was also ordered to serve an additional three years of supervised release.
On August 28, 2020, 16-year-old G.D. was found unconscious in his bedroom at his father’s home in Sandpoint, Idaho. He died, despite attempts to revive him by family and medical personnel. The coroner determined G.D. died of a fentanyl overdose; a toxicology report and autopsy showed that G.D. had a lethal dose of fentanyl in his system at the time of his death.
The case was investigated by the Sandpoint Police Department, Idaho State Police, and the DEA Drug Task Force in Coeur d’Alene. Officers began an immediate investigation into the death and learned G.D. had met with Holmes during the early morning hours of August 28, 2022, near Old Town, Idaho. Holmes sold G.D. pills containing fentanyl. It was one of these pills that eventually killed G.D. Based upon the evidence it appears that G.D. immediately lost consciousness after consuming the pill.
“This tragic case illustrates that fentanyl can be an instant killer,” said U.S. Attorney Hurwit. “We must do all we can to rid our communities of this poison, and I know our federal, state, and local partners are dedicated to this mission. Prevention is also critical, and so we must all spread the word about this extremely addictive and deadly drug. This is truly about saving lives.”
“Unfortunately, this is another tragic example that One Pill Can Kill,” said Jacob D. Galvan, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Seattle Field Division. “We will continue to work with all our state, local, and federal partners to hold accountable individuals like Mr. Holmes and ensure we keep our communities safe and healthy.”
As part of their investigation, officers learned that Holmes had been selling fentanyl-laced pills for several months prior to G.D.’s death. Idaho and other states have seen a massive influx of counterfeit pills in the last several years. The pills are mass-produced by criminal drug networks and falsely marketed as legitimate prescription pills. The pills are made to look like prescription opioids such as oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet), hydrocodone (Vicodin), and alprazolam (Xanax); or stimulants like amphetamines (Adderall).
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times stronger than morphine. Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for severe pain management and prescribed in the form of transdermal patches or lozenges. While prescription fentanyl can be diverted for misuse, most cases of fentanyl-related overdoses in the U.S. are linked to illegally made fentanyl that is sold through illicit drug markets for its heroin-like effect.
Counterfeit pills are becoming more and more common place. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its law enforcement partners seized nationally more than 10.2 million fentanyl pills and approximately 980 pounds of fentanyl powder during the period of May 23, 2022 through Sept 8, 2022. Despite law enforcement efforts to educate the public and stop the flow of these illegal drugs, the number of overdose deaths related to these pills continues to rise. For more information regarding this concerning trend please visit: https://www.dea.gov/onepill.