(Updated at 1:40 p.m.) A man from Lorton has been sentenced to 22 years in prison after he gave a young woman a Xanax pill laced with fentanyl and tried to hide evidence of her death in a storage shed, court documents show.
Julian A. Velasquez, 36, was sentenced yesterday (Tuesday) following a plea deal in federal court. It came after authorities found he provided the woman with the drugs, sold heroin to a man before calling 911, and lied to emergency responders, according to court documents.
Velasquez also admitted to providing narcotics to two people who died from overdoses, one in 2017 and the other in 2018.
The most recent death happened in 2020, when the woman — a friend of Velasquez from Los Angeles, who’s identified in court documents as E.M. — visited him to take drugs in anticipation of her birthday, according to an FBI affidavit. She died due to fentanyl intoxication.
“She’s no longer with her friends and her family and her community,” Fairfax County Police Department Chief Kevin Davis said of the 29-year-old victim.
FBI assistant special agent in charge Timothy Thibault also expressed his condolences to the victims’ families.
Velasquez picked up the woman from Baltimore’s international airport on Aug. 8, 2020, and he reported to 911 that she was unresponsive the evening of Aug. 9.
Before the 911 call, though, investigators found that Velasquez sold heroin to a male Vienna resident on Aug. 9, according to prosecutors.
“On August 9, 2020, Velasquez found E.M. unresponsive but he did not call 911 or seek medical assistance,” prosecutors said. “Velasquez instead called his friend and drug customer, Enoel Comsti, 27, of Vienna, to assist in removing evidence of drug use and drug distribution from the crime scene at Velasquez’s residence.”
Comsti saw the woman lying on the bed and attempted to administer Narcan to reverse the overdose, according to authorities. Velasquez then tried to clean up the residence and remove evidence of drug use, according to a statement of facts that he signed as part of the plea deal.
The pair then tried to reach a storage unit when Comsti’s vehicle broke down with two flat tires, according to authorities. Velasquez continued by foot to the storage unit to hide drug evidence.
After returning home, Velasquez called 911, asked for an ambulance and made false statements to emergency responders, denying that the woman had a drug overdose.
“Velasquez told the dispatcher that he could not tell if [E.M.] was breathing and indicated that it appeared that [she] was biting her tongue,” the FBI said. “Velasquez told the dispatcher that he believed [the victim] may be diabetic and confirmed to dispatch that it was possible [she] was having a diabetic emergency.”
During the news conference, Davis also described a good Samaritan law meant to protect people if they help get medical aid to an individual who overdoses.
In another plea deal, a federal judge sentenced Comsti in February to a year and nine months in prison for “aiding and abetting tampering with evidence.”
Meanwhile, authorities are currently prosecuting multiple cases caused by fentanyl and other synthetic opioids in northern Virginia, federal prosecutor Jessica Aber said, in an effort to address not just low-level street crimes but international drug traffickers.
Aber said there’s a pill epidemic in the country in which pills are being laced with fentanyl. She said if you go to a party and someone gives you a pill, it could have fentanyl in it and kill you.
“If you are buying drugs on the dark web or other unlicensed licenses, you are potentially playing Russian roulette,” Thibault said. “Drug dealers are lacing virtually every drug with deadly fentanyl.”
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