Lorton man gets 22 years for distributing fentanyl that led to woman’s overdose death

A man from Lorton, Virginia, was sentenced Tuesday to 22 years in prison for distributing fentanyl, which led to the overdose death of a young woman visiting him from California in 2020.

According to court documents, Julian Velasquez, 36, gave counterfeit Xanax containing fentanyl to the woman, identified only as E.M., which caused her overdose death, the Justice Department said.

The woman, 29, had flown from California to visit and stay with Velasquez on Aug. 8, 2020.

Authorities said she took a pressed Xanax pill laced with fentanyl given to her by Velasquez either the evening of Aug. 8 or the morning of Aug. 9. Velasquez found her unresponsive on Aug. 9.

But Velasquez didn’t call 911 or try to get the woman medical help, the Justice Department said. Instead, he called Enoel Comsti, 27, of Vienna — a friend Velasquez also dealt drugs to — to help get rid of evidence of drug use and drug distribution at Velasquez’s home.

Before Comsti got there, the DOJ said Velasquez sold heroin to another buyer at his home, then collected evidence of drug use and distribution, including paraphernalia and narcotics. Comsti — who was paid in heroin for his help — then drove Velasquez to a storage unit so he could hide the evidence.

Except Comsti’s vehicle broke down before they could get there, and Velasquez continued on foot to the storage unit, then went back home without Comsti.

Velasquez called 911 for E.M. after he got home, the Justice Department said. During the call, he lied to emergency medical services regarding E.M.’s current condition, what had happened and denied the possibility that E.M. had suffered an overdose.

Emergency medical services found her dead in Velasquez’s bedroom.

Velasquez admitted causing the woman’s death. He also admitted selling narcotics to several others who suffered overdoses. Those additional overdoses included several non-fatal overdoses, as well as the fatal overdoses of people identified by the Justice Department as M.S. in 2017 and K.M. in 2018.

For his part, Comsti pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting tampering with evidence. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison.

“I hope that the knowledge that this offender, that Mr. Velasquez, will be spending over two decades in prison for his crimes, where he cannot distribute drugs in our community, will bring some measure of comfort to our community and to the families of these victims,” Jessica Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said at an afternoon briefing.

Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis called Velasquez’s failure to call for medical help for the 29-year-old woman “deplorable.”

“Not only did that not take place, but he continued to sell drugs to other customers, while our 29-year-old victim lay dead on the floor,” Davis said. “That’s deplorable. That’s despicable. And it says something about his mindset. And that’s something that that no community will stand for.”

Davis emphasized Good Samaritan laws, which are in place to encourage people to call first responders, and remove the caller’s liability.

“This is a harm reduction effort that goes beyond the police department, Fairfax County government. Many aspects of our government are engaged in this fight to reduce nonfatal and fatal overdoses. Good Samaritan laws exist because we want to further reduce harm,” Davis said.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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