National Security

California Judge Sentences First Person Convicted Of Fentanyl Murder To Hefty Prison Term

(Photo by Don EMMERT / AFP) (Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)

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Jennie Taer Investigative Reporter
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A judge delivered California’s first fentanyl murder sentence in connection with the death of a local teen, the Placer County District Attorney’s office announced Wednesday.

Nathaniel Cabacungan, 22, received a sentence of 15 years to life for the death of Roseville teen Jewels Wolf, the district attorney’s office said in a Facebook post. Cabacungan pleaded guilty July 12, 2022 to murder and the sale of a controlled substance to a minor causing a fentanyl death. (RELATED: Merrick Garland Dodges Reporters’ Questions About China’s Role In Combating Fentanyl Crisis)

“Our message is simple: do not sell this poison in Placer County. This historic sentence affirms our county’s commitment to holding fentanyl dealers accountable,” Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire said in the Facebook post.

“Through aggressive prosecution, county-wide investigations, support from our local officials, and our 1 Pill Can Kill Placer campaign, we will save lives through education, enforcement and empowering our community members. We will continue to stand with the Wolf family to honor her memory by educating our kids of the dangers of fentanyl,” Gire said.

Fentanyl is largely responsible for the 105,263 drug deaths that occurred between February 2022 and January, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). The highly-potent synthetic drug is the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18 and 49.

“Throughout the nation, we continue to address the impacts of the opioid crisis, and have, in recent years, seen a marked increase in fentanyl use and associated deaths,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said regarding Cabacungan’s sentence.

“Today we grieve the loss of yet another young life to this drug — a loss that should never have occurred in the first place. We hope that today’s sentencing brings some sense of closure to this young woman’s family. Let this be a warning to the poison peddlers in California’s neighborhoods: We will hold you accountable. I want to thank the Placer County District Attorney and our law enforcement partners in Placer County for working with us to make our community safer,” Bonta said.

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