Texas Drug Dealers Charged with Murder After Selling Fentanyl-Laced Pills to Teen

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Two men are facing charges of murder under a new Texas law after allegedly selling an 18-year-old laced fentanyl. Jovan Cortez Ortiz, a young man battling drug addiction, tragically lost his life after a relapse. His family described him as an amazing son with a bright future ahead of him, highlighting the devastating impact of his sudden death.

Cortez Ortiz’s father, John Ortiz, revealed that his son had been on the right path, working hard, and making everyone around him laugh. However, his life took a tragic turn on September 2 when he unknowingly purchased pills laced with fentanyl. Just a day after the new state law came into effect, Cortez Ortiz passed away.

The two accused dealers and distributor, Muhammad Rafay and Angel Barrientos, now face charges of fentanyl murder by delivery. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg emphasized that since the law was enacted on September 1, 2023, four people have been charged under its provisions.

Ogg underscored the significance of the law, highlighting the surge in fentanyl-related deaths in Harris County over the years. She emphasized the ease of tracking down the source of the lethal drug by utilizing cell phone data, a crucial aspect in bringing perpetrators to justice.

The law aims to send a strong message to drug dealers and suppliers, holding them accountable for contributing to the rising death toll caused by fentanyl poisoning. Prosecutors are utilizing the threat of life imprisonment as leverage to extract more information from those involved in the distribution network.

Records show that one of the accused individuals has posted bond, while the other remains behind bars. John Ortiz expressed relief at the arrests but stressed the importance of seeing a conviction and maximum sentencing for those responsible for his son’s untimely death.

In a heartfelt statement, Jovan’s mother, Teresa Cortez Poole, remembered her son as a vibrant and ambitious young man. She highlighted the devastating impact of his loss on their family and urged for greater awareness of the dangers of fentanyl in order to prevent further tragic deaths.

The implementation of this new law represents a crucial step in the fight against drug-related deaths, aiming to hold accountable those who profit from the distribution of deadly substances. As the legal process unfolds, the families of victims like Jovan Cortez Ortiz seek justice and closure for their unbearable loss.