A 26-year-old woman in Colorado Springs faces federal fentanyl distribution charges after allegedly selling the dangerous drug to two high school students, which resulted in another girl overdosing at school the next day.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver charged Alexis Nicole Wilkins on Tuesday with distributing fentanyl resulting in death, federal prosecutors announced in a news release. The charge carries a potential penalty of no less than 20 years in prison.
Federal prosecutors allege that Wilkins on Dec. 2 sold a fentanyl pill to two minors in the parking lot of the Citadel Mall, according to the criminal complaint filed in federal court. Those individuals allegedly brought the pill to Mitchell High School in Colorado Springs the next day, prosecutors said, and shared it with a third girl, who was not named in the criminal complaint.
The teen consumed some of the fentanyl in the school bathroom and “appeared to have overdosed during class,” investigators said in the court documents. At the end of class, a teacher observed the girl “foaming at the mouth and unresponsive.” She was transported to an area hospital, where she was pronounced deceased.
Authorities seized more than 100 blue pills from Wilkins’s apartment and car, as well as $7,000 in cash, according to the criminal complaint. Wilkins, in an interview with the FBI and Colorado Springs police, allegedly admitted to selling fentanyl pills for roughly six months.
“She claimed she was unsure if all her pills contained just fentanyl, a mix of Percocet and fentanyl, or just Percocet,” the FBI special agent wrote in the complaint.
Wilkins made her initial appearance Wednesday in Denver’s federal court.
Fentanyl overdoses have skyrocketed in recent years in Colorado and the rest of the country, leading lawmakers and law enforcement to consider new measures to crack down on the extremely potent synthetic opioid that is often mixed with other illicit substances and painkillers. It’s also highly addictive.
The crisis came into stark focus last month when five young adults died of suspected fentanyl overdoses in a Commerce City apartment.
At least 767 people died of fentanyl overdoses in Colorado in 2021, though delays in state data reporting mean the real number is likely higher. That’s still a 42% increase from 2020 — even without three months of data.
Just four years ago, in 2018, nine Coloradans a month on average died of illicit fentanyl overdoses. In the first half of 2021, that monthly average grew to 64 — or two a day.
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