Drug Dealer Jailed for the Death of a Teenager from Acute Fentanyl Toxicity

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ore. — A Wahington County Circuit Court judge has jailed a 21-year-old for six years and three months for selling fentanyl tablets to a teenage boy who was later found dead in the kitchen of his grandparents’ home. A medical examiner determined that the teenager died of acute fentanyl toxicity.


Guilty of Manslaughter and Delivery of Unlawful Schedule II Substance

The judge found Jair Noriega guilty of manslaughter in the second degree and of the unlawful delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance to a minor.

Evidence revealed that he had sold fentanyl to a 17-year-old teenager on two separate occasions. On the first occasion, Noriega told the boy to “take it slow” because it had taken “good money” to manufacture the illegal drug, according to the district attorney’s office. Noriega then secretly delivered the second round of fentanyl tablets to the boy’s home in rural Washing County a few nights later.

The following morning, the teenage boy’s grandparents found him dead in the kitchen. The district attorney’s office says there was drug paraphernalia nearby. Two counterfeit fentanyl tablets were also found in his bedroom.

After the incident that occurred in June 2023, an investigation was launched by the Westside Interagency Narcotics Team which led to the arrest of Noriega.


Jailing Dangerous Drug Dealers Will Save Lives, says District Attorney

Jailing dangerous drug dealers will save lives, says Washington County District Attorney, Kevin Barton. He added that holding drug dealers accountable for the damage they cause in communities is a priority.

The verdict in the Noriega case is rare because Oregon does not have a crime that addresses the role drug dealers play in cases of fatal overdosing, according to the Washington County District Attorney. The DA’s office says it is aware of only two other manslaughter convictions in the state involving a drug dealer’s role in a fatal overdose. One of the convictions took place in Washington County, while the other occurred in Linn County.

Barton says law enforcement officers have had to find ways to apply old laws to new challenges because many of the state’s existing laws were enacted long before the advent of the current fentanyl crisis.

Noriega was sentenced to 75 months in prison. His sentence will run consecutively with a previous conviction of 13 months for charges related to separate incidents of domestic violence. The sentence puts Noriega behind bars for a total of 88 months.

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