Trevor Harden, a 19-year-old who was arrested by law enforcement after shipping 20,000 fentanyl pills in the mail to himself now faces a 20-year jail term alongside a $1,000,000 fine.
The teen from Chamberlain in a federal court last week, pleaded guilty to knowingly and intentionally attempting to possess and distribute fentanyl, a deadly counterfeit opioid which has broken into the drug scene recently.
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Trevor Harden’s arrest came on the 10th of October after a search warrant was provided to local law enforcement of which they found 20,000 fentanyl pills valued at about $500,000 afterward.
According to Marty Jackley, the Attorney General, Trevor Harden was arrested on Tuesday after a search warrant was issued.
The teenager now faces a lengthy sentence of up to 20 years in prison for the class 4 felony, with a minimum of three years of parole altogether with a one million dollar fine. A co-conspirator identified as Tyler Woodraska, of Oacoma, pleaded not guilty on the 23rd of August and is now awaiting a jury trial.
The public information officer for the Attorney General’s Office, Sara Rabern, stated that she believed the seizure was the biggest so far regarding fentanyl confiscation in South Dakota.
“When I saw that number, I actually at first thought it might be a typo,” Rabern stated.
She then made reference to a fentanyl case which happened just recently involving a 20-year-old Jacob Hubbs of Mitchell who was arrested after law enforcement allegedly found 1,000 pills at his home near Dry Run Creek Park.
“That was 1,000 pills, and this is substantially more,” Rabern said.
“At the time, we thought 1,000 seemed like a lot,” she added.
When asked as to why a search warrant was issued for the home, which she believed to be Harden’s address, Raben declined to answer or give any comment on that.
An officer who was hospitalized after his involvement in the seizure for exposure to fentanyl was not showing any symptoms of an overdose but was rather hospitalized as a precaution.
Rabern also refused to comment on as to how the officer came into contact with the substance but did say that he had been released from the hospital.
Documents provided in court showed that, in the early parts of June 13, a package was intercepted and searched by law enforcement at the Chamberlain post Office.
The package contained the fentanyl pills and was sealed in vacuum packages which were addressed to Trevor Harden. The fentanyl pills were then seized with the package rewrapped by law enforcement. The package was afterward returned to the Chamberlain post office by law enforcement.
Further court documents showed that at exactly 10:20 am on the same June 13, Tyler Woodraska arrived at the Post Office in Chamberlain asking of the package. It was then given to him by an employee of the post office. As Woodraska was leaving the post office, law enforcement swooped in on him and was taken into custody. He was charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
Also, at approximately three blocks north of the Chamberlain Post Office, Harden was spotted by law enforcement sitting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle. He was also taken into custody before being arrested and charged with possession and the intent to distribute fentanyl.
During the hearing, Harden said to the courtroom that he had a deal with another person to distribute a mixture or substance which contained fentanyl in South Dakota and other places from October 2016 to the 19th of July 2017. He also stated to the court that he ordered the fentanyl via the dark web and arranged for it to be shipped to Chamberlain.
This bust came through a collaboration of local, federal and state officials which is made up of the FBI’s Safe Trails Drug Task Force, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation and the Chamberlain Police Department.
“I think they would all say it’s a joint effort,” Rabern was quoted.
“The locals, especially those smaller agencies, have a lot of work on their plate, and I’m sure if you ask them, they appreciate having the state and fed guys coming to help as well, and vice versa.”
Harden’s sentencing is on the 3rd of January in Sioux Falls.