Last-Minute Motions Filed in Drug Trial

Greybull man accused of dealing fentanyl requests venue change, additional evidence

By Jennifer Kocher

Special to the Wyoming Truth

Attorneys argued a flurry of last-minute motions on Tuesday at the pretrial conference for a Greybull man accused of selling fentanyl-laced opioids that the victim’s mother said led to the death of her son the very same day. 

Anthony Michael Fuentes has been charged with four felony counts in Big Horn County of delivering a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, as well as a misdemeanor for possession of a controlled substance.

The case dates back to January 2 when Fuentes allegedly sold two counterfeit Oxycodone pills containing fentanyl to 25-year-old Jordan Jackson, of Cody, who is referred to as “J.J.” in the charging documents.

Jackson’s death led authorities to Fuentes, who initially admitted to obtaining 40 suspected fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills in Denver, Colorado, two of which he sold to “J.J.” on Jan. 2, according to court documents.

However, Fuentes has not been charged for any crimes related to Jackson’s death and has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The pretrial hearing on June 6 in Big Horn County District Court focused on two motions filed by Fuentes’ attorney, Christina Cherni, prior to the start of the 9 a.m. proceeding.

The motions entailed a request for a change of venue, as well as a request for evidence related to the coroner’s report, autopsy and toxicology report that Cherni said her client had a right to see.

Big Horn County prosecutor Marcia Bean argued that this discovery is not relevant to the charges Fuentes faces, because he has not been charged with any crime related to the death of “J.J.” Bean further said that the state is ready to go to trial and that the request for discovery is not relevant to the alleged crimes.

In order to guarantee a fair and impartial trial, Cherni argued that Fuentes’ trial should be moved to a different county based on media coverage and a Facebook group run by Jackson’s mother, Brenda Armstrong, that has over 900 members. 

In a motion filed on June 6, Bean countered  there is no way to prove the Facebook group members are local or even live in Wyoming, and that Fuentes failed to meet the threshold proving an implied prejudice against him would taint his trial.

Big Horn County District Judge Bobbi Overfield called a recess following the 30-minute conference and has not yet entered a decision as of Wednesday.

Fuentes’ five-day jury trial is currently scheduled to begin on June 26. 

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