(WJHL) — A trio from Wise County pleaded guilty to distributing pills containing fentanyl linked to teenage overdoses in the area, according to a release from the United States Attorney’s Office.
Paul Perkins, Austin Lane and Cheyenne Carico pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl.
Between Feb. 1-11, 2022, Perkins purchased thousands of pressed pills containing fentanyl through an online source located in California, according to court documents. Perkins had the pills mailed to his residence in Big Stone Gap and then distributed the pills to other individuals in Wise County.
Perkins sold Carico and Lane three pressed pills for $30 per pill on Nov. 24, 2021. Lane and Carico purchased two of the pills for a 17-year-old girl they knew from school. The two then distributed the pills to the girl by delivering the pills to her sister’s mailbox. The girl was hospitalized later that night due to a drug overdose and spent six days on a ventilator. Law enforcement found half of a pressed pill from the scene of the overdose, which later tested positive for fentanyl.
On the same night, another 18-year-old man who purchased pressed pills from Perkins, Lane and Carcio was hospitalized due to an overdose.
A United States Postal Inspector intercepted a package on its way to Perkins’ residence on Feb. 10, 2022, from Costa Mesa, California. The package contained approximately 1,000 pills containing fentanyl. Law enforcement performed a controlled delivery of the package to Perkins’ residence and found approximately $6,000 in cash, a loaded firearm and 200 pressed pills containing fentanyl.
The Wise County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tabacco, Firearms & Explosives and the United States Postal Inspection Service continue to investigate the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lena Busscher is prosecuting the case.