San Diego Man Sentenced to 188 Months in Fentanyl Overdose Death | USAO-SDCA

Assistant U. S. Attorney Larry Casper (619) 546-6734

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARYApril 12, 2021

SAN DIEGO – Jeffrey Alden Blair was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia to 188-months in prison for supplying the fentanyl that led to the fatal overdose of 45-year old Derrick Hotchkiss, a long-time rugby player for the San Diego Old Aztecs Rugby Football Club. Through his plea agreement, Blair admitted that the fentanyl he dealt caused Hotchkiss’ death and that he knowingly sold in excess of 400 grams of fentanyl.

Upon arrest, Blair told law enforcement that he understood that fentanyl could cause death and was “no joke.” Blair was arrested in an open storage unit in which agents located more than 500 grams of fentanyl and other drugs and drug-related items.

“Recidivist drug dealers who supply this poison in our community while recognizing the potentially lethal consequences must be held accountable,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Randy S. Grossman. “We will continue to aggressively pursue fentanyl traffickers in overdose cases to ensure justice is fully served.”

“This defendant dealt in more than drugs. He dealt in death,” said Special Agent in Charge of the San Diego DEA John W. Callery. “This sentencing should serve as a warning to other death dealers that we will continue to investigate fentanyl overdose deaths and those dealers who knowingly provide these poisons in San Diego and Imperial County.”

Previously, defendant Christopher Emison was also sentenced in connection with Hotchkiss’ death to 168-months in custody. In a related case, defendant Andrew Gossai will be sentenced on April 26, 2021. According to the Government’s sentencing papers, Gossai sold the fatal dose of fentanyl to Blair who made the purchase for both Emison and himself. In turn, Emison sold the fatal dose to Hotchkiss shortly before his overdose death.

Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman praised prosecutor Larry Casper as well as the agents from Narcotics Task Force Team 10, a multi-agency team housed by DEA that was created in July 2018 to address drug overdose deaths in San Diego, for their efforts on these cases. 

For those who suffer from addiction, please know there is help. Call the Crisis line at 888-724-7240; it’s always open.

DEFENDANTS                                

Case Number 19cr3252-AJB                                                          

Jeffrey Alden Blair                             Age:  34                      San Diego, California

Christopher Glenn Emison                 Age: 33                       El Cajon, California

Case Number 19cr3253-AJB

Andrew Samuel Daniel Gossai           Age: 33                       San Diego, California

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Andrew Samuel Daniel Gossai and Jeffrey Alden Blair:

Distribution of Fentanyl – Title 21 U.S.C. Section 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C)

Maximum Penalties – Mandatory minimum of ten years, and maximum of life in prison and $10 million fine.

Christopher Glenn Emison

Sentenced to 168-months on Distribution of Fentanyl – Title 21 U.S.C. Section 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C) with maximum penalties – mandatory minimum of five years and maximum of 40 years in prison and $5 million fine.

INVESTIGATING AGENCIES

Drug Enforcement Administration

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Department of Homeland Security

California Department of Healthcare Services

San Diego Police Department

(The above-listed agencies are represented on DEA NTF Team 10)

 

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