SAN DIEGO (AP) — The man who sold the fentanyl pills that killed a 15-year-old San Diego County boy was sentenced Tuesday to 13 years in federal prison.
Kaylar Junior Tawan Beltranlap, 21, of San Diego was convicted of distributing fentanyl in the form of counterfeit oxycodone pills.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin, and even a small amount can be deadly. It is sold in a variety of forms, including blue pills designed to look like oxycodone, a powerful painkiller.
Beltranlap pleaded guilty in July, admitting he used his Instagram account to set up a drug deal with Clark Jackson Salveron, a sophomore at Coronado High School in Coronado, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office said.
In his plea agreement, Beltranlap warned Salveron to only take half the pill because it was “strong as hell,” the DA’s office said in a statement.
The deal was made on May 12, 2021. The next morning, the teenager was found dead in his bedroom at his Coronado home, prosecutors said.
The county medical examiner’s office determined the teen died of acute fentanyl intoxication.
In the government’s sentencing memorandum, the boy’s mother was quoted as saying, “I will never recover from having my oldest son poisoned and taken from me.”
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At his sentencing Tuesday, the judge said Beltranlap went for “easy money” with a “callous disregard for the poison he was bringing to the community and to a very young victim,” the DA’s office said.
“Drug dealers are using social media to target children,” said Shelly Howe, special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in San Diego. “Parents, be careful when checking your children’s social networks, it could save their lives.”
Fentanyl pills are suspected in a series of overdoses by several teenagers in California, including the death of a 15-year-old girl last September in a Hollywood high school restroom.
Police said Melanie Ramos and a classmate bought what they thought was pain medication outside of the school. Two teenage boys were arrested in connection with her death.