Investigators say an Oregon man who admitted to buying $1.5 million worth of powdered fentanyl is linked to the January drug overdose death of an 18-year-old Grand Forks man.
Brandon Corde Hubbard, 40, of Portland, Ore., was indicted in U.S. District Court in North Dakota in connection to the death of Bailey Henke, 18, according to federal court records.
His case has not yet been unsealed, but court records from U.S. District Court in Oregon reveal his alleged connection to Henke's death.
Court papers allege Hubbard was involved in a "large scale" drug distribution conspiracy that spanned multiple countries and stretched across the U.S. Hubbard ordered narcotics from China and Canada and then distributed them by mail throughout the U.S., according to a criminal complaint signed by Homeland Security Investigation Agent Guy Gino.
One of the recipients was Ryan Jon Jensen, 20, Grand Forks, who recently pleaded guilty to federal drug distribution charges in connection to Henke's death from a drug overdose shortly after midnight Jan. 3, the complaint says.
From the night Henke died, investigators pieced together the details of the drug pipeline from China to Oregon to North Dakota. At least six people have since been charged in federal district court with distributing drugs that led to Henke's overdose death.
Jensen, who was under house arrest for a drunk driving conviction at the time of Henke's death, told Grand Forks police he bought drugs from the online dark site Evolution and then sold the drugs from his bedroom, according to the complaint.
On Jan. 2, the day before Henke died, Jensen received two packages in the mail containing 1 gram of fentanyl citrate and 12 grams of heroin, the complaint says.
That night, Jensen smoked powdered fentanyl with Henke and at least two others while playing video games in his bedroom, the complaint says. The two others - Kain Daniel Schwandt and David Todd Noye Jr. - also have been indicted on federal drug conspiracy charges.
Jameson Robert Sele, whom investigators say received Jensen's mail at his Grand Forks address, also was charged and recently pleaded guilty to federal drug conspiracy charges.
During a search of Jensen's home Jan. 3, police found powdered fentanyl, which they took into evidence along with a laptop computer, the complaint says.
Jensen reportedly gave investigators his login information to the website Evolution and from there, investigators found the Internet user from whom Jensen had bought the drugs - Hubbard - according to the complaint.
After tailing Hubbard for a few days, law enforcement agents obtained a warrant to search Hubbard's Portland apartment and found 100 grams of fentanyl citrate, scales, packaging materials, and mailing envelopes, the complaint says.
During questioning, Hubbard allegedly admitted to selling more than 400 grams of fentanyl citrate over the Internet and to buying 750 grams of fentanyl worth about $1.5 million in November, the complaint says.
Hubbard reportedly said he had the packages - which came from China and Canada - shipped to a friend in Washington state who owns an oil filtration business, Steven Fairbanks Locke Jr., the complaint says.
In exchange for receiving Hubbard's packages, Hubbard would give some of the fentanyl to Locke.
Locke was indicted on drug conspiracy charges in U.S. District Court in Oregon March 10 in connection with Henke's death.