For Immediate Release
California Pair Indicted for Supplying Fentanyl Linked To Wise County Teen Overdoses
Alexander Ortiz and Jorge Perez Jr. Face Mandatory 20 Years in Prison
ABINGDON, Va. – A federal grand jury in Abingdon returned an indictment yesterday charging a pair of California men with supplying the fentanyl linked to teenage overdoses that occurred in Wise County, Virginia.
The grand jury has charged Alexander Ortiz, 25, of Fullerton, Calif., and Jorge Efrain Perez Jr., 24, of Anaheim, Calif., each with one count of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl which resulted in serious bodily injury to two juvenile victims. In addition, Ortiz is charged with one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
According to court documents, Ortiz and Perez were the suppliers of fentanyl for Paul Mason Perkins, Austin Jeremiah Lane, Cheyenne Cassie Carico, and others, all of Southwest Virginia.
The government alleges that between November 1, 2020, and June 20, 2022, Ortiz sold thousands of pressed pills containing fentanyl to Perkins and others. Perkins ordered 1,000 pills at a time using the social media platforms Snapchat and Instagram, making purchases from Ortiz every few weeks. Ortiz had the pills mailed to Perkins at his residence in Big Stone Gap. Perkins then distributed the pills to other individuals in Wise County, including multiple sales to co-conspirators Lane and Carico. Perez assisted Ortiz in mailing the illicit packages from California to Virginia, as well as other locations throughout the country.
On November 24, 2021, Perkins sold Carico and Lane three pressed pills. Lane and Carico had purchased two of the pills for a 17-year-old female the two knew from school. Later that night, the 17-year-old female was hospitalized due to a drug overdose. Law enforcement recovered half a pressed pill from the scene of the overdose, which tested positive for fentanyl.
Later the same night, an 18-year-old male who had purchased pressed pills containing fentanyl from Perkins was hospitalized due to a drug overdose.
Search warrants executed at Ortiz’s residences in Los Banos and Santa Ana, California, resulted in the recovery of over 6,000 pressed pills containing fentanyl, approximately $60,000 cash, and 13 firearms.
United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh, Charlies J. Patterson, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division, and Tommy D. Coke, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Atlanta Division made the announcement.
The Wise County Sheriff’s Office, Norton Police Department, Southwest Drug Task Force, United States Postal Inspection Service, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives are investigating the case, with assistance from the Stanislaus and Orange County, California Sheriffs’ Offices.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lena Busscher is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.