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Carrollton, Texas News

Man Tied to Mexican Cartel in Carrollton Juvenile Fentanyl Overdose Case Sentenced to 20 Years

The first defendant charged in the Carrollton juvenile fentanyl overdose scandal, which resulted in the deaths of at least four North Texas teenagers, was sentenced today to 20 years in federal prison. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton announced the sentencing.

Luis Eduardo Navarrete, 22, was charged in February 2023 and indicted in March 2023. He pleaded guilty in November 2023 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a Schedule II controlled substance and distribution of a controlled substance to a person under 21 years of age. U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade handed down the sentence.

“Even as children overdosed and died around him, this defendant continued to distribute poisonous pills to juvenile dealers to sell in grade schools,” said U.S. Attorney Simonton. “Brushing off the pain of his young victims’ family and friends, he delivered fentanyl into the hands of children, extinguishing lives before they’d even really begun. The callousness he displayed is truly chilling. Although we can never bring these kids back, we hope today’s verdict is a balm to their families’ unbearable suffering.”

“Today’s a very important day for DEA Dallas and all of those who were involved in this investigation. Defendant Navarrete was one of the first individuals identified in what later became a complex ring of various fentanyl traffickers selling poison in our neighborhoods,” said DEA Dallas Special Agent in Charge Eduardo A. Chavez. “While we cannot bring back the lives lost and undo so much tragedy amongst the affected families, we are proud that justice has been served and remain committed to fighting illicit fentanyl trafficking in North Texas.”

“Today’s sentencing of twenty years, I feel, is appropriate for the seriousness of Navarrete’s crimes. Navarrete and others were responsible for causing enormous heartache and sorrow to many families. It is appropriate to show that the Carrollton Police Department and the DOJ remain serious about protecting our citizens, and especially our youth, from drug dealers who think they can prey on our children by pushing poison on them. I am grateful for our partnership with the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas and DEA-Dallas; without their help, this would not have been possible.”

Navarrete and co-conspirators trafficked fentanyl pills to juvenile drug dealers, who then sold them to students at R.L. Turner High School, Dewitt Perry Middle School, and Dan Long Middle School. Despite being informed of multiple overdoses and deaths caused by his pills, Navarrete continued to distribute them.

At the sentencing hearing, a DEA task force officer testified that Navarrete's fentanyl originated from the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico. The investigation led to approximately 40 arrests and the seizure of over 1.2 million fentanyl pills. The conspiracy caused at least 14 juvenile overdoses, four of them fatal.

Navarrete is one of 11 defendants charged in connection with the case. His main supplier, Jason Xavier Villanueva, was sentenced to 15 years, and his drug runners Rafael Soliz Jr. and Robert Gaitan were sentenced to 15 and 5 years respectively.

At Navarrete’s sentencing hearing, the mother of one of the late juvenile victims testified: “He was the soul of our home,” she said of her son in Spanish. “I would like for everyone who’s present to know that these people who sell fentanyl, they destroy families…. On behalf of all those children who have passed away due to fentanyl, this has to stop.”

The investigation was conducted by the DEA’s Dallas Field Office and the Carrollton Police Department, with assistance from School Resource Officers from the Carrollton-Farmer’s Branch Independent School District. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rick Calvert and Phelesa Guy.

Note: Illicitly produced, fentanyl-laced pills often look similar to legitimate prescription pills like Oxycontin or Percocet, but can pose significantly more danger. On the street, these pills are often referred to as “M30s” (a reference to the markings on some of the pills), “blues,” “perks,” “yerks,” “china girls,” or “TNT.” DEA research shows that six out of ten pills laced with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose. One pill can kill. For resources, visit

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