San Diego Man Sentenced to 10 Years for Selling Fentanyl That Killed Woman

San Diego Man Sentenced to 10 Years for Selling Fentanyl That Killed Woman
Bags of heroin, some laced with fentanyl, are displayed at the office of the New York Attorney General in New York City on Sept. 23, 2016. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
City News Service

SAN DIEGO—A San Diego man was sentenced Oct. 19 to 10 years in prison for selling fentanyl that caused a woman's death.

Cole Thomas Salazar, 32, admitted to using online classified ads to sell drugs, including a November 2020 sale of powdered fentanyl to Sarah Elizabeth Fuzzell, 24. The U.S. Attorney's Office said Fuzzell died on Nov. 3, 2020, from the drugs she purchased from Salazar.

After conducting a search of Fuzzell's phone, investigators posed as her in January of 2021 and arranged a fake drug purchase with Salazar, according to the prosecution's sentencing papers.

Salazar and his girlfriend were arrested at a hotel near Horton Plaza, prosecutors said.

During the arrest, packages of fentanyl and heroin were found on Salazar and law enforcement found more fentanyl and other items used for selling drugs in a nearby hotel room, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

The investigation and arrest were documented in "The Crime of the Century," an HBO documentary covering the U.S. opioid epidemic.

Salazar pleaded guilty earlier this year to a count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, with admissions in his plea that the drugs caused Fuzzell's death.

"Our community lost a vibrant, intelligent 24-year-old victim to powdered fentanyl," said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. "We can't stress enough the danger of powdered fentanyl. If you are a drug dealer who chooses to sell powdered fentanyl—disregarding the extreme risk—our office will prosecute you for any death resulting from your sale."