LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Pacoima woman is expected to plead guilty today to a federal drug charge alleging she was part of a conspiracy that distributed narcotics -- including oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl -- to civilians and members of the U.S. Marine Corps, one of whom suffered a fatal overdose.
Jessica Sarah Perez, 25, has agreed to enter her plea to a federal count of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, according to documents filed in Los Angeles federal court.
Perez admitted in her plea agreement that as a member of the conspiracy, she received purported oxycodone pills containing fentanyl and other drugs from a co-defendant, and sold the narcotics to customers.
Perez and four others -- including two active-duty Marines -- were charged two years ago in a 14-count indictment.
Lance Cpls. Anthony Ruben Whisenant, 22, and Ryan Douglas White, 24, who are stationed at Camp Pendleton, were arrested Sept. 22, 2020, on the indictment charging one of the Marines and three civilians with conspiring to distribute narcotics to civilians and members of the Marine Corps.
Whisenant allegedly distributed drugs to fellow Marines, including the one who died, and White is charged with being an accessory after the fact for allegedly attempting to hinder the apprehension of Whisenant.
The indictment also charges Gustavo Jaciel Solis, 25, of Sylmar, who allegedly sold drugs supplied by Jordan Nicholas McCormick, 27, to civilians and military personnel. Perez was charged with distributing narcotics, including fentanyl and cocaine, to civilian customers.
McCormick is alleged to have supplied large quantities of various drugs -- including LSD, ecstasy, cocaine and fentanyl-laced oxycodone -- to the others, and is also charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The updated indictment adds McCormick, Whisenant and White as defendants, in addition to adding charges to the original indictment. Prosecutors contend the conspiracy lasted from last November through late 2020 and involved multiple sales of fentanyl-laced oxycodone to an undercover buyer, often for amounts exceeding $1,000 per buy.
On May 22, 2020, Solis sold 10 pills of oxycodone laced with fentanyl to an unnamed active-duty Marine who died of a drug overdose in the early morning hours of May 23, the indictment alleges.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, McCormick, Solis and Whisenant face substantive charges of distribution of narcotics, including fentanyl. McCormick and Solis are also charged with possessing firearms in furtherance of drug crimes.