American Justice Notebook

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Man Guilty of Selling Fentanyl-Laced Pills that Killed a 15-Year-Old Boy

            LOS ANGELES 

A jury found a South Bay man guilty of distributing pills laced with the powerful opioid fentanyl to a 15-year-old boy who ingested them and died in May 2020, the Justice Department announced today.

            Alexander Declan Bell Wilson, 22, of Rolling Hills, was found guilty late Friday of one count of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death.

This offense carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

            According to evidence presented at a five-day trial, on the evening on May 14, 2020, Wilson agreed to distribute five “percs” –slang for pills typically laced with fentanyl – to the victim, Nathan Young-Nichols, 15, of Rolling Hills Estates.

Evidence seized from Young-Nichols’ cellular phone shows he believed the pills were authentic pharmaceutical pills that contained the opioid oxycodone.   

            At around 11:30 p.m. that night, the victim’s 13-year-old brother met Wilson outside the family’s house to pick up the five pills.

Wilson then handed the victim’s brother a plastic bag containing the pills through the window of Wilson’s vehicle.

The victim’s brother took the bag from Wilson, went back inside the house, and gave the pills to the victim. Shortly afterward, Young-Nichols posted a photograph of the pills on his Snapchat social media account and then ingested the pills.

            From approximately 1:50 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. on May 15, 2020, Wilson and the victim argued on Snapchat about the proper way to consume the pills Wilson had sold to the victim.

Wilson chastised Young-Nichols for chewing the pills and then shared screenshots of their conversation with his Snapchat followers.

            On the morning of May 15, 2020, the victim’s grandmother found him dead in his bedroom. Expert testimony at the trial confirmed the victim’s death was caused solely due to fentanyl poisoning.

            U.S. District Judge Fernando L. Aenlle-Rocha scheduled an Oct. 20 sentencing hearing.

Wilson faces up to life imprisonment. Wilson has been in federal custody since May 2021.

            The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Overdose Justice Task Force and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigated this matter.

                        Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ian V. Yanniello and Daniel H. Weiner of the General Crimes Section are prosecuting this case.