Attorneys continued jury selection Wednesday for the trial of a man accused of distributing fentanyl pills that resulted in the overdose deaths of two men in Garfield and Mesa Counties. The jury selection began Monday for the case of Bruce Holder of Grand Junction.
Holder is charged with distribution of a controlled substance (fentanyl) resulting in death, namely, the death of John Ellington of Carbondale. The charge is punishable by up to life in prison and a $20 million fine. Holder also faces five other federal charges.
Ellington died Dec. 28, 2017 by overdose on Dec. 28 in Carbondale after coming into contact with fentanyl or a fentanyl mixture.
The Garfield County Coroner’s Office confirmed that Ellington died that day of fentanyl intoxication.
A second man identified in court records as “Z.G.” survived a near-fatal overdose the same night, according to court documents.
An affidavit in support of the warrant details an investigation which began in early 2018 after an overdose death in late 2017. Law enforcement contacted an individual named Z.G., who survived death by overdose due to the administration of NARCAN.
“Z.G. identified the potential cause of his overdose, little blue pills marked with an “M,” and began the trail of information which ultimately led to Defendant Bruce Holder,” court records state.
Holder is accused of purchasing large quantities of fentanyl-laced pills from Mexico and distributing them throughout Western Colorado.
Tanner Crosby, 18, died May 19, 2018 from a fentanyl overdose. The source of the fentanyl could be traced back to Holder, according to court documents.
Lexus Holder, Corina Holder, Geri Bochmann, Jessica Brady, and Marie Matos were indicted by a federal grand jury on similar charges for their involvement with distribution of the fentanyl supplied by Holder.
Those defendants have each entered pleas of guilty in this matter and are currently scheduled for sentencing once they fulfill the conditions of their plea agreements, which include potential testimony in the trial of Holder.
Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.