An Ellensburg man was sentenced to 132 months for dealing fentanyl that resulted in two deaths.

21-year old Jonathan Rivera-Venegas pleaded guilty last December to Conspiracy to Distribute Fentanyl. He distributed fentanyl-laced pills to a 21-year old man and a 16-year old male. Both were poisoned by the pills and died. Rivera-Venegas relocated to Hawaii, where he was eventually apprehended by law enforcement.

In a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern District of Washington:

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United States Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref stated, “Fentanyl is the deadliest drug threat facing this country, and this case in particular presents egregious consequences stemming from this dangerous poison. Mr. Rivera-Venegas knew these drugs were deadly and yet continued to distribute fentanyl in our communities. Two families are devastated as a result of Rivera-Venegas’s crimes. Our community is safer and stronger today as a result of the incredible work of several law enforcement agencies, who came together to investigate and prosecute this tragic case.”

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has issued a Fentanyl warning.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is advising the public of an alarming emerging trend of colorful fentanyl available across the United States. Since August 2022, DEA and our law enforcement partners seized brightly-colored fentanyl and fentanyl pills in 26 states. Dubbed “rainbow fentanyl” in the media, this trend appears to be a new method used by drug cartels to sell highly addictive and potentially deadly fentanyl made to look like candy to children and young people.

How many people die by drug overdose?

Nationally, over 300,000 people have died from prescription and illicit opioids in the last 15 years. (That's about 55 people per day) The Washington State Department of Health has launched the Opioid and Drug Overdose Data dashboard that includes county data on hospitalizations and deaths due to overdose of opioids. This new tool presents updated information in an easy to understand format, which will be more accessible to the public.

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