Fifteen years in federal prison was handed down Oct. 16 to an online drug dealer who sold counterfeit oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl to a La Jolla man who died in an overdose.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Deshong asked for a 20-year sentence for Trevor Antone Lucas, 23, in the June 29, 2018, death of Craig Sheehan, 37, who was found dead on the floor by his mother. The prosecutor mentioned she was in the courtroom audience.
Deshong told U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Bencivengo that Lucas advertised online, which is how Sheehan contacted him. Court records say he was driven to a condominium on Torrey Pines Road to sell Sheehan the phony oxycodone.
"I'm sure Trevor would do anything to bring him back, but it is not possible," said his attorney, Keith Rutman. "He tried to do his best to make it right."
Rutman criticized pharmaceutical companies for "getting people addicted to these drugs." He recommended a 15-year term for Lucas, saying it was "a long time."
Wearing an orange jumpsuit, Lucas told the judge, "This mistake is not who I am." He asked her for "a second chance" and noted, "I struggle to forgive myself."
Lucas, who has been in the Metropolitan Correctional Facility since his arrest a year ago, said time in prison has allowed for "so much time to grow" in his thinking. He apologized to everyone who was affected by Sheehan's death.
Bencivengo told Lucas the death was "the unintended consequences" of selling drugs. She said the 15-year sentence was imposed "to reflect the seriousness of the offense."
"This case today is the face of the country's drug problem," said Bencivengo.
"It's a really sad day, a sad day for you," said Bencivengo to Lucas.
In a statement afterwards, U.S. Attorney Robert S. Brewer, Jr. said, "Trevor Lucas knew the pills he was selling were deadly, but he sold them anyway, showing a remarkable disregard for the safety and well-being of his fellow human beings."
"His greed transcended his humanity, and for that, he will serve a very long sentence," said Brewer, who praised Deshong and federal, state, and local investigators who worked on the case.
The cause of death was fentanyl intoxication, according to the county medical examiner. According to Lucas' plea agreement, he met the victim and sold him nine "blues," a slang term for prescription oxycodone pills, for $240.
Lucas pleaded guilty to distribution of fentanyl resulting in death. He could have received a maximum 20-year term. Sheehan contacted Lucas after seeing his advertisement on Craigslist. He had received his bachelor's degree in radiological sciences and was preparing to fly to the East Coast for a specialized program at the time of his death, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Lucas is from Highland, California, and was driven to Sheehan's home by Conclair Marie Fields, 23, who was sentenced to perform 100 hours of community service on June 11. Fields, also of Highland, was given credit for six days in jail. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess a mixture of hydrocodone and other drugs.
Donovan Adontas Carter, 23, of San Bernardino, received 21 months in prison that runs concurrent with a state conviction. Kevin Vandale Chandler, 24, of Highland, was sentenced to 235 days in prison. Carter and Chandler both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute a mixture of drugs.
"Our hearts go out to the victim's family," said Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Karen Flowers. "The potential of their loved one will never be realized, but their hopes, dreams, love and laughter will forever be remembered."