MOUNT VERNON — A 29-year-old Mount Vernon man pleaded guilty Thursday to selling the drugs that killed two people last year.
Justin O’Brien Miller pleaded guilty to two counts of controlled substance homicide for selling fentanyl-laced pills to 18-year-old Garrett C. Arendse and 28-year-old Rebecca L. Doyle, who both died in April 2018.
He also pleaded guilty to delivery of a controlled substance, possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a firearm.
According to court records, Arendse contacted a friend on March 31, 2018, asking for Percocet. The friend contacted Miller, who reportedly agreed to sell the pills to Arendse.
Arendse was pronounced dead the next day after he had spent the night at a friend’s house in the Alger area, documents state.
Five days later, Doyle was found dead in a Clear Lake home, court documents state. Her fiancé called 911 after finding her on the floor, blue and not breathing.
Three days before Doyle’s death, documents state, the fiancé set up a drug deal between Miller and Doyle. A co-worker of Doyle who was with her that day said Doyle drove to Miller’s apartment and was handed two white pills from a man believed to be Miller’s roommate.
Court documents state the co-worker told detectives Doyle identified the pills as Xanax and “pure” fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.
Miller was arrested on May 17 of that year and has been held in the Skagit County Community Justice Center on $500,000 bail.
He is set to be sentenced on Jan. 8, when prosecutors will recommend he be sentenced to eight years, four months in prison.
Miller is the second person this week to plead guilty to controlled substance homicide.
John Dennis Mendieta, 26, pleaded guilty Wednesday to selling the fentanyl-laced drugs that killed 27-year-old Ronald Schweigert.
More than a dozen people have died from fentanyl in Skagit County in the past two years.
Two people in the Skagit County Community Justice Center are awaiting trial on controlled substance homicide charges related to the deaths of two people.