LOS ANGELES – Two active-duty U.S. Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton were arrested Tuesday morning on a federal grand jury indictment charging one of the Marines and three civilians, including a Palmdale man, with conspiring to distribute oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl to civilians and members of the Marine Corps, one of whom suffered a fatal drug overdose in May.
Lance Cpls. Anthony Ruben Whisenant, 20, and Ryan Douglas White, 22, were expected to make their initial appearances Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Whisenant allegedly distributed narcotics to fellow Marines, including the one who overdosed, and White is charged with being an accessory after the fact for allegedly attempting to hinder the apprehension of Whisenant.
The 14-count superseding indictment also charges:
— Jordan Nicholas McCormick, 26, of Palmdale, the lead defendant and the conspiracy’s alleged supplier of LSD, ecstasy, cocaine and oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl to co-conspirators;
— Gustavo Jaciel Solis, 24, of Sylmar, who allegedly distributed McCormick’s drugs to civilians and military personnel; and
— Jessica Sarah Perez, 23, of Pacoima, who allegedly distributed narcotics, including fentanyl and cocaine, to civilian customers.
On Aug. 11, Solis and Perez were indicted on fentanyl and cocaine distribution charges, and Solis was indicted on firearms-related charges. They have pleaded not guilty and their trial date is scheduled for Oct. 27. Solis is in federal custody and Perez is free on $25,000 bond.
Tuesday’s updated indictment adds McCormick — who is also in federal custody — Whisenant and White as defendants, in addition to adding charges to the original indictment. According to the indictment, the conspiracy lasted from last November through this month and involved multiple sales of fentanyl-laced oxycodone to an undercover buyer, often for amounts exceeding $1,000 per buy.
On May 22, Solis sold 10 pills of oxycodone laced with fentanyl to an active-duty Marine who died of a drug overdose in the early morning hours of May 23, the indictment alleges.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, McCormick, Solis, Whisenant and Perez face substantive charges of distribution of narcotics, including fentanyl. McCormick and Solis are also charged with possessing firearms in furtherance of drug crimes.
If convicted, McCormick and Solis would face a sentence of 10 years to life in federal prison, and Whisenant and Perez would each face up to 20 years behind bars. White, if convicted, would face up to 10 years in federal prison.
[Information via news release from the United States Attorney’s Office.]