A 50-year-old Quincy resident was convicted last week of two felony crimes of possessing heroin and fentanyl for sale.
Erwin Damond O’Bryant was in Superior Court Tuesday, June 11, on charges of possessing heroin for sale on April 4, 2018, and possessing fentanyl for sale June 2, 2018.
“O’Bryant remains in custody until his sentencing date of July 9, 2019 when it is expected he will receive a term of three years in state prison,” said District Attorney David Hollister.
Under California’s Assembly Bill 109, rather than serving his time in a state prison, he will serve the sentence in the Plumas County Sheriff’s Correctional Center.
On April 4, 2018, a search warrant was served on O’Bryant’s residence on Redberg Avenue. During the execution of the warrant O’Bryant was searched, Hollister explained. “In O’Bryant’s pants pocket was a pill bottle containing suspected 3.108 grams of heroin,” he said.
O’Bryant also had in his possession $460 in cash and an LG cell phone.
An arrest warrant was executed June 2 of last year when Deputy Tyler Hermann saw O’Bryant outside the Town Hall Theatre on Main Street in Quincy, Hollister explained.
Hermann knew the man had a warrant out for his arrest. He contacted O’Bryant with the intent to arrest him.
During the incident, O’Bryant was searched and another prescription bottle labeled Meloxicam was discovered. Inside the pill bottle were a number of blue and yellow pills, Hollister said. There were 39 blue pills and those were believed to be 30mg oxycodone pills based on the imprint on each pill.
In reviewing O’Bryant’s cell phone, initially seized during the April 4, 2018, search warrant, approximately 1,000 messages to and from O’Bryant were discovered. These messages were from Feb. 3, to April 3, 2018. Hollister said the messages included conversations about O’Bryant having heroin for sale as well as the 30mg oxycodone and 15mg oxycodone pills. And “O’Bryant was getting more pills ‘down the hill,’” Hollister revealed.
Hollister said that some of the messages were from buyers questioning him about whether the pills he was selling were “bunk.”
In response to the evidence discovered on O’Bryant’s cell phone the California Department of Justice (DOJ) was asked to do a more in-depth analysis of the pills purporting to be oxycodone, Hollister said.
“Through their scientific testing, DOJ learned the pills were not, in fact, oxycodone pills but were counterfeit and contained fentanyl in addition to other substances,” Hollister said.
Fentanyl is a prescription drug that has garnered much attention during the reporting of the opioid crisis, he said. In a 2015 United States Drug Enforcement Agency Officer Safety Bulletin fentanyl was described as being “extremely dangerous” and being roughly 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine and even 40 to 50 times more potent than pharmaceutical-grade heroin.
“Upon learning from DOJ the pills contained fentanyl local law enforcement leaders met along with the Plumas County Public Health Agency to assure all agencies were aware of the potential of illegal pills containing fentanyl (were) being sold and/or used in Plumas County,” Hollister said.
The meeting was also so agencies could take appropriate safety measures.
“I wish to thank our Plumas County Sheriff’s Office Detectives Unit, deputies Jesse Leiss and Tyler Hermann, the Public Health Department and the many state and local agencies who assisted in this investigation and its response,” Hollister said. “Scenarios such as this present a tremendous risk to those engaging in illegal drug use as well as those law enforcement officers attempting to uphold our laws and keep our community safe. This case very much is a reminder of the dangers the opioid crisis still presents throughout our country and even here, in Plumas County.”