DENVER – The Drug Enforcement Administration Denver Field Division alongside the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announces that Bruce Holder, age 55, of Grand Junction, was convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute Fentanyl and Counterfeit Substances, Distribution of Fentanyl Resulting in Death, Distribution of Fentanyl, and Distribution of a Counterfeit Substance after a 11-day jury trial in Denver, Colorado.

Facts presented at trial established that Holder worked in conjunction with multiple co-conspirators, including his wife, children, and other members of his family, to distribute pills which appeared to be 30mg Oxycodone pills but in fact were counterfeit and spiked with fentanyl. Between 2017 and 2018, Holder imported tens of thousands of these pills from Mexico into Western Colorado where he and his co-conspirators distributed them for substantial profit. 

In December 2017, a young man in Carbondale died after using one of the pills. Evidence presented at trial established that this man would not have died but for the fentanyl present in the counterfeit pills distributed by Holder. Despite knowing of this death, and hearing of other concerns, Holder and his co-conspirators continued to import and distribute these counterfeit pills. This continued even after Holder’s arrest in August 2018. Evidence at trial also showed that, following his arrest, Holder discussed with co-conspirators plans to destroy evidence and the possible murder of a cooperating witness.

The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation, with the assistance of the FBI, ATF, HSI, USMS, Western Colorado Drug Task Force, Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team (“TRIDENT”), Carbondale PD, Fruita PD, Grand Junction PD, and Mesa County SO. Assistant United States Attorney Jeremy Chaffin and Special Assistant United States Attorney Jaime Pena handled the prosecution of the case.

“DEA is very happy with this verdict, Holder is someone who has shown a disregard for human life that you don’t often come across,” said Deanne Reuter Special Agent in Charge of DEA Denver Field Division. “Getting to a guilty verdict is something that could only be done with the hard work of our agents and task force officers who investigated this case and the prosecutors who presented it.”

“Most people know that fentanyl is incredibly dangerous. Many people don’t know that it can be disguised to look like other, much less powerful opioids,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Matt Kirsch.  “Bruce Holder profited from that ignorance, while one of his customers paid for it with his life. Holder now faces an appropriately long prison sentence for his callous drug distribution.”

United States District Court Judge Christine M. Arguello presided over the trial and will impose sentence at a later date.

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