A Canadian prison inmate pleaded guilty to conspiring with another inmate to import and distribute fentanyl in the United States, which led to several overdoses and deaths, authorities said.
Jason Joey Berry, 39, of Montreal, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and controlled substance resulting in serious bodily injury and death, and conspiracy to import controlled substances and controlled substance into the United States resulting in serious bodily injury and death, the Justice Department said.
"Jason Berry was part of a fentanyl trafficking ring that contributed to the opioid epidemic plaguing our communities," said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
Federal prosecutors said Berry was imprisoned in Canada when he conspired with Daniel Vivas Ceron, 41, another inmate, to distribute drugs and money laundering.
The scheme came to the attention of investigators with the Jan. 3, 2015 overdose death of Bailey Henke in Grand Forks, North Dakota. In total, the ring was responsible for four fatal overdoses, authorities said.
Ceron pleaded guilty in 2019 to several federal drug charges. In addition to Berry, several other people in North Dakota and Oregon have been charged in the drug ring.
Berry is slated to be sentenced Jan. 17, 2023 and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison.