Grand Junction Man Sentenced for Distributing Fentanyl Resulting in Death

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

DENVER – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announces that Christopher Huggett, age 30, of Grand Junction, was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for the distribution of fentanyl resulting in death.  After his term of incarceration, Huggett will serve 3 years of supervised release. 

According to the plea agreement, in 2017, Huggett began selling counterfeit pills that appeared to be Oxycodone but actually contained fentanyl.  Huggett obtained the pills from and sold them in conjunction with his source, Bruce Holder.  Despite learning from Holder that several people had overdosed and that some had died after using these pills, Huggett continued distributing the pills throughout Western Colorado. 

On December 26, 2017, Huggett sold several pills to Zacharia Green.  Green then sold some of those pills to the victim, identified as J.E. in the plea agreement.  On or around December 28, 2017, J.E. used a portion of one of the pills distributed by Huggett and Holder, lost consciousness, and died.  That same day, Green also used a portion of one of the pills, lost consciousness, and stopped breathing.  A co-worker, however, discovered Green and called emergency medical personnel.  Responders administered naloxone, saving his life. 

Less than two months after his friend had overdosed and another person had died, Huggett accompanied Holder to Mexico to obtain and import additional fentanyl pills.  While in Mexico, Huggett saw Holder give the person supplying the pills a large wad of cash.  Later, they returned to Grand Junction with several thousand fentanyl pills concealed in the dash of Holder’s vehicle. 

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After Huggett was arrested and detained in this matter, he solicited the murder of a witness.  In what Huggett has claimed was false bravado, he offered two inmates $5,000 and a vehicle to arrange for Green’s death.  Huggett also provided one of these inmates with information on where Green could be located.  After investigating this matter, agents confronted Huggett about his actions.  Huggett acknowledged that he had asked inmates to have Green murdered but claimed that he did not actually intend for that to occur.  Huggett stated that he was presenting a front to keep up appearances in the jail and spoke only with inmates that he believed had no possibility of release. 

“Fentanyl is deadly and it’s pervasive.  Dealers distributing fentanyl have our full attention,” said United States Attorney Cole Finegan.  “I urge Coloradans to be on guard.  Fentanyl is being disguised in many different drugs – and it can kill you.  Please do not take a drug unless you get it from a pharmacist.”

“DEA applauds the Court’s sentence in this case because it lets criminals know that if they play recklessly with people’s lives by peddling deadly poison within our communities, they will be held accountable to the full-measure of the law,” said DEA Denver Special Agent in Charge Brian Besser. “I especially want to thank our agents in the Grand Junction Resident Office who, alongside their counterparts in FBI, the Western Colorado Drug Task Force and the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team, performed an outstanding investigation that ultimately ensured justice was served for the victims and their families in this case.”

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“Today’s sentence is a direct result of the dedicated work of the FBI and our federal, state, and local partners to combat criminal organizations that distribute fentanyl and other dangerous substances with no regard for the devastation it has on our communities,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael H. Schneider. “The FBI will continue to investigate individuals and groups who attempt to further the scourge of drugs and violence in the areas we serve. The FBI thanks our partners, including DEA, Western Colorado Drug Task Force, the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their diligence and collaboration.”

United States District Court Judge Christine M. Arguello sentenced Huggett on March 9, 2022.

On April 19, 2021, Bruce Holder was convicted of distributing fentanyl resulting in death, among other crimes, after an 11-day jury trial in criminal case number 18-cr-00381.  Holder is scheduled for sentencing on May 4, 2022.  For his role in J.E.’s death, Zacharia Green was sentenced to two years in federal prison in criminal case number 19-cr-00459. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Western Colorado Drug Task Force, and the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team conducted the investigation in this matter.  Assistant United States Attorney Jeremy Chaffin and Special Assistant United States Attorney Jaime Pena handled the prosecution.

Case number 18-cr-334

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