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Montana man pleads guilty to illegally distributing Fentanyl, leading to a man's death

HELENA, Mont. — A Montana man pleaded guilty Friday to distributing Fentanyl, announced U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter, District of Montana.

Dakota Robert Rogers pleaded guilty to distributing Fentanyl, a potent opium-based pain killer, before U.S. District Court Judge Sam E. Haddon. Sentencing has been set for Feb. 21.

This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan R. Whittaker, District of Montana, the government stated it would have proved the following at trial:

  • On Dec. 8, 2012, Butte-Silverbow Law Enforcement officers were called to an address in Butte, Mont., in relation to a man who was not breathing and unresponsive. Upon arrival at the scene they found a woman attempting to do CPR on the victim. The victim was then transported to the hospital, but emergency personnel were unable to revive him.
  • During the drive to the hospital, the woman stated that she believed that the victim had been smoking Fentanyl. She said she had been told this by an individual who had been with the victim earlier in the night.
  • The woman turned over a cellular telephone she stated belonged to the victim. Officers reviewed the phone to determine ownership and next of kin, etc., when they discovered text messages that appeared to be drug related. One of the texts was from an individual, identified here only as "XX," who in his text stated that whatever the victim had taken had caused him to start to drool immediately.
  • A short while later, the victim's phone began to ring. The officers answered the phone and the caller identified himself as "XX." During the conversation, "XX" stated that he had been at the victim's house at about 1:45 a.m. and had placed the victim's head on a pillow because he had been snoring.
  • Officers later searched the victim's house and found Fentanyl patches and drug paraphernalia.
  • When interviewed, "XX" stated that he had been with the victim the night he died. He said that the victim had been attempting to buy drugs and was able to make contact with a dealer identified as Rogers. Rogers had come to the victim's house while "XX" was present and sold the victim a Fentanyl patch for $35. The victim paid Rogers $10 in cash, and then gave Rogers his debit card to go to an ATM to withdraw the other $25 he owed for the patch.
  • Following the interview, officers contacted the victim's father who gave them the victim's bank account information. With that information, officers found an ATM video showing Rogers withdrawing money from the victim's account the night of the victim's death.
  • When interviewed, Rogers told investigators that he had in fact sold the victim the Fentanyl patch and showed him how to ingest it. Rogers further stated that he had received money from the victim for the patch and had used the victim's ATM card to get the money from the victim's account.
  • A State Medical Examiner performed a postmortem examination of the victim. His examination revealed that there were toxic levels of Fentanyl in the victim's body at the time of death. The examiner concluded that the victim died as a result of Fentanyl toxicity.