Facing a possible 40-year sentence, a Tarzana man accused of selling fentanyl that resulted in the deaths of two local teens took a plea deal in federal court, a spokesman for the Department of Justice wrote Thursday in an email.
Dominick Alvarado, 22, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, according to Ciaran McEvoy, public information officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“He faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each count (40 years total), but the prosecution has agreed to seek no more than 12 years in prison at sentencing,” McEvoy wrote. “The court is not bound by this agreement.”
Alvarado’s case was one of the first investigated by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department’s Opioid Overdose Response Task Force, which formed after a spate of overdose deaths, including juveniles who were, in several instances, unknowingly taking the drug laced into other substances, with fatal consequences.
Santa Clarita ended 2022 with more than 30 deaths attributed to the drug, including the deaths of Alyssa Dies, 17, and Cameron Kouleyan, 18.
Kouleyan died July 13, 2022, inside his family’s home on Matador Place in Santa Clarita, and Dies on July 23, 2022, after an overdose at Santa Clarita’s Central Park, according to the coroner’s office, with medical examiners attributing both deaths to fentanyl.
Investigators said both drug purchases could be tracked back to Alvarado.
Officials with the county’s task force have said previously they sought federal prosecution for the cases because the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office would not pursue second-degree murder charges in the deaths, which would have a sentence comparable to the federal charge of providing a drug that resulted in death, which was Alvarado’s initial charge.
As all of the cases from the Opioid Overdose Response Task Force have been federally designated, it is expected there will be more prosecutions connected to the investigations in the coming months, according to past conversations on background with Sheriff’s Department officials.
Dies, a Canyon Country teen, watched a movie at Valencia Town Center before splitting a single pill laced with fentanyl with another person, which later led to her overdose during a Concerts in the Park show.
First responders administered two doses of Narcan around 9 p.m. before performing CPR on Dies. Her pulse returned and she was transported to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, but she was pronounced dead at 11:59 p.m.
Kouleyan was found by family members, according to sheriff’s officials.