Lubbock man in fentanyl bust pleads guilty to federal charges - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lubbock man in fentanyl bust pleads guilty to federal charges

Sidney Lanier (Source: Lubbock County Detention Center) Sidney Lanier (Source: Lubbock County Detention Center)
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

One man arrested after a year-long investigation into an illegal fentanyl trafficking ring could spend up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty in federal court to conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.

Sidney Caleb Lanier, 36, is one of three people facing federal charges involved in the illegal drug ring. He has been in jail since his October arrest.

Jessica Holl, 28, and Jamie Robertson, 32, entered not guilty pleas. They are scheduled for trial on April 3, 2017.

All three are being held in the Lubbock County Detention Center.

In May of 2016, the Lubbock Police Department learned from a confidential source that Jessica Holl, 28, and Jaime Robertson, 32, were being supplied with large amounts of Fentanyl provided by Sidney Caleb Lanier

According to documents filed in this case, from approximately January 2013 to October 27, 2016 on Lanier, Holl, and Robertson did knowingly and intentionally combine, conspire, confederate and agree with each other and with persons known and unknown to knowingly and intentionally distribute and possess with intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled substance.  Lanier admits to supplying Holl and Robertson with large amounts of Fentanyl he purchased online on the Darknet from China using Bitcoin, a digital currency.  The Fentanyl was shipped to various addresses in the Lubbock area, prepared by the defendants and sold for use. 

While fentanyl can serve as a direct substitute for heroin in opioid-dependent individuals, it is a dangerous substitute as it is 50 times more potent than heroin and results in frequent overdoses that can lead to respiratory depression and death. Cheaper than heroin, fentanyl can be ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin; just a few milligrams, equivalent to a few grains of table salt, may be deadly. 

Fentanyl is responsible for a sharp increase in opioid deaths across the U.S.  It poses a high risk of death not only to users, but also to law enforcement personnel. 

The source told police Lanier purchased the Fentanyl from China using the Darknet and was incredibly discreet, staying under the radar while Holl and Robertson met with buyers. He would sometimes receive $50,000 worth of the drug in one shipment, according to a source.

Another source, like the first, told police Holl received Fentanyl from Lanier who sold each vial for $15,000 to $20,0000. The source said Holl and Robertson would never let anyone speak with Lanier, or see where he lived. 

On October 20, the Lubbock Police Department conducted surveillance operations at Lanier's home in the 5700 block of 154th Street. 

According to court documents, officers watched him interact with Holl and Robertson and travel from his home to Elite Spy Supply located in the 8900 block of U.S. Highway 87. 

Officials began searching through phone records and discovered from March 14, 2016 to May 13, 2016, Lanier and Holl had contacted each other nearly 100 times. 

They also discovered evidence that made them believe Lanier was masking internet activity. 

On October 27, officials interviewed Lanier's brother-in-law, Kenneth Bouscher. He told officials over the course of 8 months, he had trafficked illegal narcotics, including Fentanyl, at the direction of Lanier.  Bouscher said he had also made large cash deposits into listed bank accounts at Lanier's request.

He said the amounts of cash he has deposited are substantially more than what Lanier can afford legally. 

Bouscher went on to say he had been employed by Elite Spy Supply for the past four months, which is owned by Lanier and his wife, Heather Lanier.

He said the company opened its doors just weeks ago and made about $2,000, but Sidney was having him deposit large amounts of cash amounting to $20,000 on the company's behalf. 

Bouscher said there is no way Sidney was making that much money legally. 

During the course of this investigation, a confidential source made four separate trips to Holl and Robertson's apartment where he/she purchased multiple grams of Fentanyl. 

On October 27, several agencies raided Holl and Roberton's apartment.

Decontamination crews worked for hours to remove Fentanyl from the apartment. 

Copyright 2017 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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