Federal court sentences local woman to over 15 years for distributing fentanyl

Hailey M. Card, a resident of Pocatello, has been sentenced to over 15 years in federal prison for her involvement in the distribution of fentanyl. U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit made the announcement today.

A Pocatello local lost his life due to a fentanyl overdose, which was distributed by Card.

As per the official court documents, Pocatello law enforcement officials received a report on January 15, 2022, about the untimely demise of a local resident named K.A. who was found unattended.

When the officers arrived on the scene, they found drug equipment and other items that suggested an opiate overdose. After speaking with the inhabitants, it was discovered that K.A. had left the house at approximately 11:30 p.m. on January 14, 2022, to purchase gasoline from the store. Upon returning at midnight, K.A. appeared to be in a normal state and retired to his basement bedroom. Unfortunately, at around 2:30 a.m., a relative discovered K.A. had passed away.

After an investigation, it was discovered that cellphone records, text messages, Facebook Messenger conversations, and statements from witnesses proved that Card sold fentanyl to K.A. on the morning of January 15, 2022. Tragically, K.A. consumed the drug upon returning home and subsequently passed away. The Ada County Coroner’s Office conducted an autopsy on January 18, 2022, which confirmed that K.A. died due to acute fentanyl intoxication.

According to U.S. Attorney Hurwit, the fight against fentanyl is a collaborative effort that demands the participation of everyone. The success of this case was due to the outstanding teamwork between the coroner’s offices and law enforcement, which enabled them to gather the necessary evidence to bring justice and prevent others from suffering the same fate as the deceased in this instance.

After admitting to the charge last July 20, 2023, Card was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge David C. Nye to spend 188 months in federal prison. She was also mandated to serve three more years of supervised release after completing her prison sentence.

Fentanyl, an artificial opioid, is an incredibly potent drug, with a strength that is 50-100 times more potent than morphine. Its intended use is to manage severe pain and is available in the form of transdermal patches or lozenges, which are prescribed by medical professionals. However, despite its intended use, many cases of fentanyl-related overdoses in the United States are linked to illegally produced fentanyl that is sold through illegal drug markets, commonly sought after for its heroin-like effects. Although prescription fentanyl can also be misused, the majority of fentanyl-related overdoses are attributed to the illicitly produced drug.

Counterfeit pills have flooded Idaho in recent years, posing a serious health threat to its residents. Criminal drug networks have been mass-producing these pills and promoting them as authentic prescription drugs. These counterfeit pills are designed to resemble popular prescription opioids such as Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicodin, as well as stimulants like Adderall. The danger of these counterfeit pills lies in their unknown composition and dosages, which can cause fatal overdoses and other harmful side effects.

Counterfeit pills are becoming increasingly prevalent and pose a serious threat to public health. In 2022, law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seized over 59.6 million fentanyl pills and roughly 13,000 pounds of fentanyl powder across the country. Despite efforts to educate the public and curb the circulation of these illicit substances, overdose deaths linked to counterfeit pills remain on the rise. For additional information on this alarming trend, please refer to: https://odp.idaho.gov/opioid-use-and-overdose-workgroup/.

The success in bringing charges in this case was made possible by the commendable coordination between the Pocatello Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Idaho State Police, and the Bannock County Coroner’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Paskett was responsible for prosecuting the case. U.S. Attorney Hurwit expressed his appreciation for the collaborative efforts of these agencies.

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