Steven Forcum of Lubbock receives 17.5 years for fentanyl distribution case

Lubbock man sentenced to 17 years

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Steven Lawrence Forcum has been sentenced Friday to 17.5 years in a federal prison by United States District Court Judge Sam R. Cummings to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute furanyl fentanyl.

Forcum is one of four people who were indicted in November by a federal grand jury on charges related to the distribution of fentanyl. This sentence was handed down after Forcum pleaded guilty to the charge in February.

Russel Lorfing, assistant U.S. attorney, has been in charge of prosecuting this case and has been working along with both the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Lubbock Police Department.

A pre-sentencing report showed Forcum was making fentanyl transactions with distributors in China and used his Gmail email account to finalize deals, Lorfing said during the sentencing. The transactions were documented from 2014 to 2017 and with those emails were also specified amounts of fentanyl along with other substances.

However, Forcum's attorney, Michael L. King, argued the 17.5-year sentence was too harsh and asked for it to be reduced because of the lack of weight associated with the case. King said the calculations done in the pre-sentence report were incorrect and double-counted against Forcum.

"The calculations instituted by the prosecution in the pre-sentence report were incorrect," King said.

The report said Forcum had 250 grams of fentanyl, as reported by a probation officer, while King argued that amount was a guess and should not have been charged again him. Lorfing conceded the calculations were done in an unorthodox manner but also said that through the DEA's investigation there was enough evidence to say it could have been more than 800 grams of fentanyl overall.

King also said the sentence was too high because in some cases Forcum did not organize some of the transactions. Cleveland Wilson, one of three other people who were indicted in with Forcum in November, was shown to have organized transactions that were charged to Forcum, King said.

"We could take into consideration the totals of the emails," Lorfing said.

However, King also said the emails were only able to verify money transactions and not specific amounts of products.

Even with the arguments presented in court, Cummings was not convinced the sentence should have been shortened and ultimately ruled to send Forcum to a federal prison near Fort Worth for 17.5 years. There was no indication made to whether or not Forcum and his attorney will appeal the ruling.

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