RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Two Camp Lejeune Marines are jailed for distributing oxycodone and fentanyl which led to the death of another Marine, the U.S. District Attorney’s office announced.
Anthony P. Tognietti, 27, of Paradise, California, and Marcos Jamie Villegas, 24, of St. Charles, Illinois were sentenced for distributing a quantity of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of oxycodone and fentanyl, and aiding and abetting.
Tognietti was sentenced to three years in prison and three years of supervised release. Villegas was sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release, a Raleigh federal court judge said Tuesday.
According to the investigation, on April 14, 2017, a United States Marine Corporal and Villegas were visiting a local residence in Richlands.
During the visit, a party happened and Villegas provided the Corporal with pills that he and Tognietti had purchased over the dark web.
Prosecutors said the pills had been advertised as oxycodone laced with fentanyl — the highly powerful opiate that can be lethal, even in small doses.
In the early hours of April 15, 2017, Villegas found the Corporal unresponsive. The Corporal was then taken to Onslow Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville and died shortly after his arrival.
An autopsy revealed that the 20-year-old Corporal died from a fentanyl overdose and low alcohol content.
An investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) revealed that, just a few weeks later, similar pills were seized from Villegas’ barracks room.
The pills were later sent off for testing and came back positive for fentanyl.
Examination of Villegas’ cellular phone revealed text messages discussing purchases of drugs.
Further coordination by NCIS with the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration linked the pills purchased by Villegas and Tognietti to a manufacturer and dark web distributor in Texas.
That man, Alaa Mohammed Allawi, 30, was later charged and pled guilty in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl resulting in death or serious bodily injury and using a gun during a drug crime.
He also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money. As part of the deal, Allawi agreed to be sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.
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