Two milligrams of fentanyl
The 2 milligrams of fentanyl shown here are enough to kill a person. Courtesy Drug Enforcement Administraion

An Ocean Beach man was sentenced Friday to more than a dozen years in federal prison for selling fentanyl that led to another man’s fatal overdose.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Anthony Souza, 46, sold counterfeit pills that led to the death of 28-year-old Chad Stevens.

Souza, who pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to distribute 400 grams and more of fentanyl, admitted in his plea agreement to selling Stevens pills in late 2019 that led to “a near-fatal overdose” that hampered Stevens’ ability to walk afterwards. The prosecutor’s sentencing memorandum states that following Stevens’ overdose, Souza threatened him in a text message to “keep your mouth shut” regarding where he got the pills.

Prosecutors allege he sold him more pills six months later, this time leading to Stevens’ death, and continued selling pills afterwards.

Souza was arrested in June of 2020 and a subsequent search of his home turned up 183 counterfeit pills, 115 grams of cocaine and other drugs, according to the prosecution’s sentencing papers.

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who imposed a 150-month sentence on Friday, said at Souza’s sentencing hearing, “The word needs to get out. The message needs to be clear that individuals who partake in the distribution of drugs — and, particularly, this deadly drug, fentanyl … will receive a sentence in excess of 10 years. There has to be that message that is delivered loud and clear.”

City News Service contributed to this article.