LOS ANGELES – A Pacoima woman pleaded guilty today to her role in a drug trafficking ring 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, is set to be sentenced May 11 on the federal charge of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Perez admitted 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 filed in Los Angeles federal court.
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 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 November 2019 through September 2020 and involved multiple sales of fentanyl-laced oxycodone to an undercover buyer, often for amounts exceeding $1,000 per buy.
Federal prosecutors allege that 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 early the next day.
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.