Copper Mountain man who received 115 fentanyl pills in the mail sentenced to two years in prison
The Summit County Sheriff's Office conducted an undercover investigation after receiving a tip about a suspicious package being delivered through the U.S. Postal Service, according to court documents.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct the name of the deputy district attorney.
A Summit County judge on Monday, April 3, sentenced a Copper Mountain man to two years in prison on a charge related to fentanyl pills he ordered in the mail.
Anthony Wahl, 42, pleaded guilty in December to a charge of possessing fentanyl with intent to distribute, a Class 3 drug felony. Summit County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested him on July 13 after seizing a package containing 115 fentanyl pills that was being shipped to Copper Mountain employee housing where Wahl lived, according to a probable cause statement filed in the case.
Though public defender Kevin Jensen sought probation rather than jail time, Judge Karen Romeo on Monday ordered Wahl be taken into custody at the close of the hearing. He was briefly allowed to hug his girlfriend before being escorted from the courtroom by law enforcement.
“One-hundred and fifteen pills, through the U.S. Postal Service, brought into the community,” Romeo said, noting her job means she has heard from many families who have lost children to fentanyl overdoses. “Deadly pills — pills that lead to overdoses and terrible things.”
In July, the U.S. Postal Inspector and Drug Enforcement Agency notified the Sheriff’s Office of a package containing pills presumed to be fentanyl, according to the probable cause document.
Deputies received a warrant for the package and discovered 115 blue pills, which were later confirmed to be fentanyl, wrapped in a paper towel and shoved into a peanut butter container labeled with the word, “Daddy,” the court document states.
Undercover deputies then delivered the replica package to Wahl, leading to his arrest, according to the court document. Wahl later told law enforcement officers he had a friend from Arizona — who he refused to identify — send the drugs and had received two shipments of 30 pills in the past, the document states.
While Romeo said Monday she did not believe the maximum six-year sentence would be appropriate, she noted that Wahl has three prior felony drug convictions from between 2016 and 2019, as well as a recent aggravated driving under the influence conviction. She also noted Wahl had previously had issues complying with court-ordered drug testing and screening.
The two-year prison sentence Romeo issued fell in line with what prosecutors had sought. Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Cava said that the amount of drugs Wahl ordered and his knowledge of the going price for a fentanyl pill suggested he intended to distribute them.
But Wahl said during the hearing that the drugs were for personal use. Romeo, however, did not appear convinced and stated that the amount of pills did not appear to be for personal use.
Jensen, meanwhile, argued Wahl should be given the chance to comply with probation since he has attended rehab and has a steady job and housing.
“This is an addiction issue,” Jensen said. “This is something Mr. Wahl is going to have to confront at some point in his life.”
Noting the progress Wahl has made toward addressing his addiction, Jensen said that progress could be lost if he is sent to prison, a sentiment Wahl’s father echoed while speaking on his son’s behalf during the hearing.
“We all make mistakes in our lives,” Wahl’s father said, “and hopefully we learn from them.”
His father said that Wahl attended rehab and had begun to turn his life around since his arrest. A few months ago, Wahl was involved in a car crash and refused to go to the hospital because he was worried about doctors giving him painkillers, showing his dedication to addressing his addiction, his father said.
“I know what he did is illegal,” Wahl’s father said. “However, if the judge can show some leniency, he can become a shining example.”
Before being sentenced, Wahl himself apologized for his actions.
“I apologize to the courts and people for what I did,” Wahl said, “and I do take responsibility.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.
Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.