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San Diego man gets 13 years in teen’s fentanyl death

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A man who sold fentanyl-laced pills that killed a 15-year-old San Diego County boy was sentenced Tuesday to 13 years in federal prison.

Kaylar Junior Tawan Beltranlap, 21, of San Diego was sentenced for distributing fentanyl in the form of counterfeit oxycodone pills.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and even a tiny amount can be deadly. It is sold in various forms, including blue pills designed to look like oxycodone, a powerful painkiller.

Beltranlap pleaded guilty in July, acknowledging that he used his Instagram account to work out a drug transaction with Clark Jackson Salveron, a sophomore at Coronado High School in Coronado, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

In his plea agreement, Beltranlap warned Salveron to take just half of a pill because it was “strong as hell,” the office said in a statement.

The deal was made on May 12, 2021. The next morning, the teenager was found dead in his bedroom in his Coronado home, prosecutors said.

The county medical examiner’s office determined that the teen died from acute fentanyl intoxication.

In the government’s sentencing memo, the boy’s mother was quoted as saying: “I will never recover from my oldest son being poisoned and taken from me.”

At his sentencing hearing Tuesday, a judge said Beltranlap went for “easy money” with “callous disregard for the poison he was putting into the community and into a very young victim,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

“Drug dealers are using social media to target kids,” said Shelly Howe, a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in San Diego. “Parents, be vigilant about checking your children’s social media, it may save their life.”

Fentanyl-laced pills are suspected in a number of overdoses of several teenagers in California, including the death last September of a 15-year-old girl in a high school bathroom in Hollywood.

Police said Melanie Ramos and a classmate bought what they thought was a painkiller off campus. Two teenaged boys were arrested in connection with her death.

___

This story was first published on Jan. 24, 2023. It was updated on Jan. 26, 2023, to correct that the information was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, not the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.

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