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2 Marines at Camp Pendleton charged in federal drug bust tied to overdose of fellow Marine

View of the main entrance to Camp Pendleton on July 26, 2019 in Oceanside, California. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images/TNS)

Two U.S. Marines at Camp Pendleton were arrested Tuesday by federal agents after being indicted in a drug-dealing conspiracy that included the sale of oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl that led to the fatal overdose of another Marine.

Lance Cpls. Anthony Ruben Whisenant, 20, and Ryan Douglas White, 22, are among five defendants expected to make their initial appearances Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Whisenant is accused of distributing narcotics to fellow Marines, including one who overdosed, and White is charged with being an accessory after the fact. Prosecutors said White tried to hinder the apprehension of Whisenant and accused drug supplier Jordan Nicholas McCormick.

The 14-count indictment alleges that McCormick, 26, of Palmdale, led a conspiracy to distribute LSD, ecstasy, cocaine and oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl. Also named are Jessica Sarah Perez, 23, of Pacoima, and Gustavo Jaciel Solis, 24, of Sylmar.

Prosecutors say Perez distributed narcotics from McCormick — including fentanyl and cocaine — to civilian customers, while Solis distributed drugs to both civilians and military personnel.

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According to the indictment, Solis sold 10 oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl to an active-duty Marine on May 22. A day later, the Marine died of a drug overdose, according to court documents.

Solis and Perez were previously indicted on fentanyl and cocaine distribution charges, and Solis was indicted on firearms-related charges. They have pleaded not guilty to those charges, and their trial date is Oct. 27. Solis is in federal custody, and Perez is free on $25,000 bond.

On Tuesday, a superseding indictment added McCormick, Whisenant and White as defendants, in addition to adding charges to the original indictment. McCormick also is in federal custody.

According to the indictment, the drug conspiracy began in November 2019 and involved multiple sales of fentanyl-laced oxycodone to an undercover buyer, often for amounts exceeding $1,000 per buy.

The arrests are part of a multi-agency investigation with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

In addition to the conspiracy charge, McCormick, Solis, Whisenant and Perez face substantive charges of distribution of narcotics, including fentanyl. McCormick and Solis also are charged with possessing firearms in furtherance of drug crimes.

Whisenant and Perez face a statutory maximum of 20 years in federal prison if convicted, while McCormick and Solis face a mandatory minimum of 10 years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment. White, if convicted, faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

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© 2020 Los Angeles Times

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.