In June, a Lubbock man admitted his role in a fentanyl distribution conspiracy. He, alongside his co-defendant, pleaded not guilty in February this year. Sidney Caleb Lanier, the 36-year-old father of three, explained that his arrest in 2016 ultimately saved his life. Authorities said the man was set to be the biggest fentanyl dealer in Lubbock.
He told the court that he could not stop and would not know how to do so, even if he could. Laneir’s attorney, Dan Hurley, explained that his client “did not know what he was doing 90 percent of the time.” He lost control at a quickening pace after he found that fentanyl provided the relief he needed following 15 surgeries as a result of a driving accident.
The pain meds prescribed after his surgery lost their ability to work the way Lanier wanted, the lawyer explained. Once his tolerance called for more potent substances, he turned to illegal narcotics. And the decline led to heroin and then directly to fentanyl and furanyl fentanyl. He sourced a supplier on a darknet marketplace. The multi-agency investigation behind his arrest found that the Lubbock man dealt with a supplier from China.
A few years before his arrest, Lanier started profiting from the fentanyl and furanyl fentanyl purchases. He sold the opioids to his 29-year-old co-defendant, a heroin dealer named Jessica Holl. They knew each other prior to the fentanyl conspiracy; Lanier explained that he had previously bought heroin from Holl. After connecting with her regarding the fentanyl conspiracy, he not only used the drugs but also sold them to the heroin dealer.
“I would be dead or worse if it wasn’t arrested,” Lanier said.
Holl, authorities explained, cooked the fentanyl into a powder. Her wife, Jaime Marie Robertson, admitted to cooking the fentanyl into powder with two separate chemicals. This cooking process turns already powdered fentanyl into a much weaker fentanyl powder. (And this is generally with good reason: by through accidental inhalation is entirely possible.)
Authorities said that Holl cooked the product into a powder and sold it to street dealers for $300-$400 per gram. Those dealers targeted probationers going through recovery or addiction treatment programs. But after incarceration and the tremendously lengthy withdrawals, Lanier worked to undo some of the harm he caused.
Authorities also arrested one of Holl’s dealers who was with his girlfriend at the time; both possessed “a vial of 70 grams of fentanyl.” The prosecution claimed the dealer was one of the many that targeted probationers
In jail, he used his experiences as a platform to help others with their own addiction and recovery. Lanier told U.S. Senior District Judge Sam Cummings that he was not aiming to downplay the severity of his crimes. Hurley asked for a sentence on the lower side of the maximum 20-years Lanier faced. The prosecution asked for 121-months in custody. Cummings handed down an even lengthier sentence: 135-months. However, the judge granted the request regarding where Lanier will serve his time. The 36-year-old asked the judge to place him somewhere that allowed his family to visit.
And Cummings granted that request. Hurley made it clear that Lanier knew his sentence would be for worse if the fentanyl caused any deaths. Holl is scheduled to be sentenced at the end of June. Holl’s wife, Jaime Marie Robertson, received a 48-month sentence. And one of Holl’s top dealers, Brian Landon Brown, will be sentenced along with Holl later this month.
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