A federal judge handed down a long sentence Friday to a Pacific Beach drug dealer who sold fentanyl to at least two people who later overdosed, one fatally.
Maya Kol, a 42-year-old Cambodian national who prosecutors said was living illegally in San Diego at the time of his arrest, received a 15-year sentence for his conviction for the distribution of fentanyl over Labor Day Weekend in 2018. Kol, who reached a plea agreement with the office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of California, had faced a 20-year term if he had been convicted at trial.
Investigators said Kol himself was sold the drug, which was initially represented to him as cocaine, by a man who also later fatally overdosed on fentanyl that weekend in Pacific Beach.
"… after he sampled the powder, [Kol] noticed it tasted different [than cociain] and then became woozy and nearly lost his balance from the effects of it," the U.S. attorney's office said in a news release issued after Kol's sentencing on Friday. "Despite his own troubling experience with the powder, Kol sold the powder to others and told them it was cocaine."
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One of the men Kol sold the drugs to, ID'd only as J.E., died of an overdose. A second victim overdosed also, and a third person was treated at the hospital for lingering symptoms of the drugs.
Prosecutors said on Friday that a search of Kol's residence yielded "more than $5,000 in cash, scales, materials for operating a butane honey oil laboratory, and other indications of drug sales."
Sadly, a third person also fatally overdosed in Pacific Beach that same weekend, according to law enforcement.
"Many people are dying because of dealers like Kol, who know the extreme danger of what they are doing but do it anyway," Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman was quoted in the news release. "Dealers do not care about their customers. They care about money. As this case tragically shows, illegal drugs laced with fentanyl are deadly."
According to prosecutors, the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office is predicting a 50 percent increase in fatal fentanyl overdoses in 2021 compared with last year.