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Published on July 10, 2024
Midland Man Sentenced to 20 Years for Deadly Fentanyl Trafficking Linked to Fatal Overdoses in West TexasSource: Google Street View

A Midland man, 39-year-old William Jake Childers, has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison following a conviction for his role in a deadly fentanyl trafficking operation. Childers's distribution of counterfeit M-30 Oxycodone pills, which actually contained fentanyl, was linked to the fatal overdoses of two men in West Texas, as reported by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

In a tragedy that claimed lives, autopsy results confirmed that a male victim from Kermit, Texas, found deceased at his home in May 2022, died from acute fentanyl toxicity. Investigating the unattended death, Winkler County Sheriff’s Office deputies discovered records of communication between Childers and the victim regarding the sale of the lethal pills. Following a similar pattern, May 2023 saw another man perish in Midland, his life slipping away after being found unconscious and later declared dead at a local hospital due to the same poison.

Court documents further reveal that during an October 2023 traffic stop, officers from Ranger Police Department found Childers in possession of 740 fentanyl-laced pills along with a loaded firearm. The U.S. Attorney's Office conveyed the gravity of these traffickers' disregard for human life, prioritizing profit over the wellbeing and safety of individuals.

Special Agent in Charge Towanda R. Thorne-James of the DEA's El Paso Division emphasized the mortal risk of fentanyl, stating, "Unfortunately, the poison these traffickers are selling is killing more and more Americans." She reaffirmed the DEA's commitment to investigating drug-related deaths and holding accountable those responsible for distributing lethal substances. Jessi Cortez, a co-defendant in the case, is currently awaiting sentencing while in custody.

The DEA led the investigation that culminated in Childers's sentencing, with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joe Mahoney and Amy Hail responsible for prosecuting the case. As the community reels from the impact of fentanyl abuse, U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza stressed the continued dedication of his office to rigorously prosecute individuals involved in the trafficking of this deadly drug and seek strong sentences to serve as a deterrent.