MANHATTAN (PIX11) — The head of a drug delivery service sent deadly, fentanyl-laced cocaine to three people in Manhattan in one day; all three customers died.
Billy Ortega, 35, was convicted Monday in the overdose deaths of Julia Ghahramani, Amanda Scher, and Ross Mtangi, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said. The three victims died on March 17, 2021.
“Worse yet, Ortega was fully aware that a customer had previously overdosed from the deadly fentanyl Ortega laced into his product, yet continued sending the drugs to his victims,” Williams said. “As a unanimous jury determined, Ortega will now be held accountable for the victims’ tragic and untimely deaths.”
Before sending the fentanyl-laced cocaine to Ghahramani, Scher and Mtangi, Ortega got a text about a problem with the drugs.
“Hey man. Just on a follow up from yesterday – I gave most of my last bag to my buddy and he just called me this second to say he ended up in hospital last night,” the text read, according to officials.
Ortega read the text, then coordinated deliveries of drugs from the same batch of cocaine to Ghahramani, Scher and Mtangi, authorities said. Ortega sent texts to the victims that night and they stopped responding. He then reached out to another drug dealer.
“If you[’re] going to be around way let me know have some every one is saying it’s to[o] Strong . . . Give it to some girls and you let me know lol bro,” Ortega texted, according to officials.
Ortega was found guilty of of one count of narcotics conspiracy resulting in death, three counts of narcotics distribution resulting in death, and one count of use and carrying of a firearm in furtherance of the narcotics conspiracy. He could face up to life in prison.