Fentanyl seller gets 32-year sentence | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Fentanyl seller gets 32-year sentence

Sarah Drinkwine / The Record-Courier
Law enforcement presence at Kahle and U.S. Highway 50 on Thursday, Oct. 30.
Ashleigh Goodwin/Tahoe Daily Tribune

STATELINE, Nev. — A Douglas County deputy exposed during an Oct. 20, 2022, fentanyl bust, took the stand during the Monday sentencing of one of the two women involved.

“The impact my colleagues, myself and our families faced was horrendous, nobody wants to have that phone call made to our families,” said Investigator Steve Schultz. “The risk and danger this drug has to the community cannot be understated.”

Regina K. Rojas, 35, was sentenced to up to 32 years in prison Monday after admitting to selling fentanyl, methamphetamine and heroin with codefendant Jessica Thomas between June 2 and Oct. 20, 2022.

Thomas has not admitted any of the charges and is scheduled to appear for a hearing in Tahoe Township Justice Court on Thursday.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the Street Enforcement Team and the FBI conducted a five-month-long investigation into the narcotics trafficking activities of the pair and made a number of undercover purchases of fentanyl, methamphetamine and heroin totaling to approximately 829.1 grams of fentanyl, 1,722.9 grams of methamphetamine and 59.4 grams of hero-in during the course of the investigation.

Rojas and Thomas were both arrested at Stateline during the final buy operation conducted by the Street Enforcement Team and the FBI.

Five Douglas County deputies were accidently exposed to powdered fentanyl and suffered symptoms related to acute fentanyl exposure, with one almost dying.

Each deputy was administered naloxone and transported to Barton Hospital in South Lake Tahoe.

Rojas and attorney Martin Hart said this was her first criminal offense and though she was selling drugs she was doing it to support her 20-year-long drug addiction.

“I was really far out there, and I can see how crazy all this was now that I am sober,” said Rojas during sentencing. “Then, I just thought everything was normal, but now I see how it was not.”

Prosecutor Eric Levin said such an offense does not require malice.

“She and her co-defendant were trafficking more than 500 grams of fentanyl, just 2 milligrams of fentanyl is lethal to a person,” said Levin. “They had at least 598 grams of fentanyl in possession during their arrest, that is almost enough to hurt 300,000 people.”

Levin said his position was to make the court and community aware that trafficking fentanyl is a significant aggravator that results in a harsh sentence.

“It is recognized that you have had a long drug problem,” said District Court Judge Thomas Gregory. “You started doing drugs when you were 15 with 20 years of it. How can something like that happen? That only happens when someone supplies the drugs. That’s what someone did to you, and someone addicted usually always becomes a seller to satisfy their cravings and that creates a circle that just keeps going. Here, it is the amount, nature and number of trans-actions that is large.”

Rojas admitted to eight counts of principal to low-level trafficking, principal to high-level pos-session of a controlled substance, principal to possession of a controlled substance, principal to sale of a controlled substance and conspiracy to violate the Uniform Controlled Substance Act.

The aggregate of all eight sentences is 12-32 years in prison.

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