Camp Pendleton. File photo

An indictment unsealed Friday accuses an alleged drug dealer from San Marcos with selling fentanyl to a Camp Pendleton-based Marine, leading to the serviceman’s overdose death and the resulting filing of a criminal charge that could send the defendant to prison for life.

Kyle Anthony Shephard, 25, was arraigned Friday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mitchell Dembin in San Diego federal court in connection with the death 14 months ago of the Marine, identified in court papers only as “Corporal M.C.”

The 25-year-old serviceman died in his barracks room in late January 2017. He was found lying on the floor next to his computer, wearing headphones, and appeared to have been playing video games when he was stricken, according to prosecutors. A blue fentanyl pill was found on his headboard, next to a powdery substance and a rolled-up dollar bill.

An autopsy determined that he died of an overdose of fentanyl, an opioid painkiller many times more powerful than heroin.

According to a criminal complaint in the case, Shephard furnished the drug that ended the Marine’s life. Text messages obtained from the latter’s phone revealed that the two men first met in November 2016.

Over the following three months, they took part in numerous sales of fentanyl and other drugs, and their conversations included comments by Shephard that the pills could lead to an overdose, court documents state.

Their relationship culminated on Jan. 27, 2017, when Shephard allegedly sold four fentanyl pills to the corporal for $100. The Marine was found dead two days later.

Following, unedited, is the 82-minute text-message exchange that allegedly led to the fateful drug buy:

M.C.: Yo whats good bro.

Shephard: What’s good?

M.C.: Can u meet up in a lil bit?

Shephard: Yes come to esco

M.C.: Do u have the fetanyl ones or the other ones

Shephard: I have both but new fet prices are 25 the others are 20 I lost a Plug and had my prices raised significantly with the fet ones

M.C.: Any deals

M.C.: And where do u wanna meet

Shephard: If you get quite a bit

M.C.: Kk ill take 4 for a hundo

M.C.: Im omw

Shephard: Fasho

M.C.: Where we meeting

Shephard: My housr

M.C.: Im in here

Shephard: Me too

M.C.: Im near the address 336

Eleven months after the fatal overdose, Shephard was arrested and charged with possession for distribution of about 2,000 fentanyl-laced pills. The criminal count against him carries a potential sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

“What a senseless tragedy that another young life has been lost because of fentanyl,” U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman said. “This Marine was serving his country and had his whole life ahead of him. We are going to hold dealers accountable for the deaths that result from their reckless disregard for human life.”

–City News Service

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