A man has been sentenced to 13 years in prison after selling a Leander teen a pill containing fentanyl, leading to his death.
On Friday, Juan Ignacio Soria Gamez was sentenced in a federal district court for the overdose death of 19-year-old Tucker Roe. Court documents show that in 2021 Gamez sold Roe a counterfeit Percocet pill containing a lethal dose of fentanyl, which led to Roe’s death.
Roe’s mother, Stefanie Turner, then founded Texas Against Fentanyl. The organization’s mission is to “create awareness about fentanyl, provide resources, and support affected families who are grieving the loss of a loved one.”
Last year, the organization was successful in urging Texas lawmakers to pass “Tucker’s Law,” which requires Texas public schools to educate students about the deadly effects of fentanyl.
Tucker’s Law, also known as House Bill 3908, was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in June.
Although the sentencing of Gamez has brought some relief to Roe’s family, Turner says the fight against fentanyl is not over.
“We are not getting ahead of it. We’re still going backwards and until those death numbers start to go down I can’t stop,” explained Turner.
In addition to Tucker’s Law, lawmakers also passed House Bill 6, which creates a criminal offense of murder for supplying fentanyl that results in death. It also enhances the criminal penalty for the manufacturing or delivery of fentanyl. It was signed into law by Abbott in June.
In response, the Fort Worth Police Department has said they will be aggressively pursuing arrests in fentanyl-related deaths.
As reported by Texas Scorecard, Fort Worth PD made its first fentanyl murder arrest in December. Additionally, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office created a Narcotics Unit and is preparing to prosecute murder charges when fentanyl poisoning deaths occur.
Similar to Tarrant County, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office also created a Narcotics Unit. District Attorney Kim Ogg said the goal of the new unit is to bring felony charges, including murder charges, for people who supply the drug.
The fentanyl crisis in Texas is worsening; overdose deaths involving fentanyl rose from 891 cases in 2020 to 2,189 in 2022, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.