Drug Dealer Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison for Selling the Fentanyl that Resulted in Death of User; Longest Sentence to Date

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Assistant U. S. Attorneys Stephen H. Wong (619) 546-9464 and Mikaela L. Weber (619) 546-9734    

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – February 14, 2022

SAN DIEGO – Jahvaris Lamoun Springfield was sentenced in federal court today to 300 months in prison for selling the fentanyl pills that resulted in the fatal overdose of U.S. Army veteran Brendan James Gallagher on February 5, 2019. This is the longest sentence to date in this district for this crime.

On August 27, 2021, following a three-day trial before U.S. District Judge Larry Alan Burns, a jury convicted Springfield of causing Gallagher’s death by distributing fentanyl to Gallagher on February 5, 2019.

The evidence presented at trial showed that Gallagher was a U.S. Army veteran who served overseas in Afghanistan. Upon his return to the United States, Gallagher was honorably discharged. In 2018, Gallagher moved from Boston to San Diego in an attempt to break his addiction. However, Gallagher turned to opioid drugs in the form of counterfeit oxycontin pills later that year.

The evidence also showed that, on the afternoon of February 5, 2019, Gallagher sent text messages to Springfield seeking to purchase oxycontin pills. Later that day, Gallagher’s roommates called 911 to report that Gallagher was nonresponsive in his bedroom. When agents arrived at the residence, they found two counterfeit oxycontin pills that tested positive for fentanyl. Additionally, Gallagher’s autopsy showed a fatal concentration of fentanyl in his blood. In the investigation that followed, agents obtained evidence showing that Springfield sold Gallagher pills on February 5, 2019. When agents arrested Springfield, they found counterfeit oxycontin pills that tested positive for fentanyl in the vehicle Springfield had been driving.

DEA Narcotics Task Force Team 10 led the investigation in this case. Team 10 is a specialty unit, with investigators from HSI, FBI, San Diego Police Department, CA Department of Health Care Services, and the San Diego District Attorney’s Office, that investigates overdose deaths in San Diego.  Team 10 responds to the discovery of overdose victims and aggressively pursues criminal cases, up the distribution chain, against both the dealers and their sources of supply.

“This is the longest federal sentence to date in a case of a drug dealer being held responsible for the death of a customer in the Southern District of California, and it should put dealers and those who supply them on notice.  Every time we have an overdose death, law enforcement will come looking for you, because lives are at stake,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “We will not stop with the street-level dealers but will follow the supply chain as far up as necessary and will use every available criminal and civil tool to combat this deadly epidemic and stop these tragic losses.” Grossman thanked the prosecution team as well as DEA Team 10 investigators for their hard work on the case.

“Today’s sentencing of Jahvaris Springfield is a reflection of the hard work of the investigators assigned to DEA’s Team 10,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Shelly S. Howe.  “These dedicated men and women work tirelessly around the clock to hold drug dealers accountable for the deaths they are causing and to bring justice to families who have lost their loved ones. This 25-year sentence is proof that their efforts have paid off.”


The United States Attorney’s Office is working closely with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, the San Diego Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal, state and local law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute cases targeting those who supply drugs in fatal overdose cases.

For those who suffer from addiction, please know there is help. Call the Crisis line at 888-724-7240; it’s always open.

DEFENDANT                                               Case Number 20cr2923-LAB                                       

Jahvaris Lamoun Springfield                         Age: 31           San Diego

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Distribution of Fentanyl Resulting in Death – Title 21, U.S.C., Section 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C)

Maximum penalty: Life in Prison

AGENCY

Drug Enforcement Administration


Federal Bureau of Investigation

San Diego Police Department

Homeland Security Investigations

California Department of Health Care Services

San Diego County District Attorney’s Office