A young Dublin woman is facing a criminal charge in federal court after authorities allege she sold illicit fentanyl pills that are believed to be the cause of a fatal overdose last summer -- the same investigation that resulted in an indictment against an Alamo teen earlier this year.
Jianna Coppedge, 19, appeared in court on May 24 to face the charge laid out in a criminal complaint that was unsealed that same day alleging reasonable grounds to believe that she sold fentanyl-laced tablets that resulted in an overdose death in Dublin on July 7, 2022.
The complaint against Coppedge appears to stem from the same police response and investigation that led to a charge in February against Ozymandias Troy Watson, an 18-year-old Alamo resident, which found apparent interactions between the two teens before the overdose death last summer and led to the charges brought against them this year.
Watson appears to be accused of having provided pills to Coppedge that she then sold to the overdose victim, according to court documents.
A Dublin Unified School District spokesperson confirmed that a student by Coppedge's name graduated from Valley High School last year. Watson had been a student at Monte Vista High School in Danville, according to a San Ramon Valley Unified School District spokesperson.
Attorneys listed for Coppedge and Watson have not responded to requests for comment on the separate cases. It is unclear whether prosecutors in Alameda County have reviewed the investigation for potential local charges related to the underlying death. The victim's identity has not been revealed to date.
The complaint against Coppedge was filed by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Anthony Guzman, who provides testimony and evidence related to a joint investigation between the administration and Dublin Police Services into the circumstances surrounding the overdose death.
In particular, Guzman argues in the complaint that Coppedge knew the pills in question contained fentanyl and that she knowingly distributed them ahead of the fatal overdose.
The investigation began when Dublin police responded to an unconscious person in his bedroom at his home in Dublin early on July 7, 2022 after a relative called 911, with the victim being pronounced dead at 1:41 a.m. that morning.
Detectives found a white powdery substance in the victim's bedroom along with a container holding two "M30" pills that were found to contain fentanyl upon laboratory analysis by the DEA, according to the federal complaint.
"Based on their training and experience, detectives suspected the victim purchased counterfeit oxycodone pills and ingested them, causing the fatal overdose," Guzman said in the unsealed complaint.
Upon reviewing the victim's cellphone and Instagram account, investigators allegedly found messages via the social media platform between him and an account that was identified as belonging to Coppedge including a conversation that had occurred the day before the overdose death on July 6, 2022.
"Lemme get 4" the victim said in a message at 10:10 p.m. the evening before he was found dead by police, according to Guzman. After negotiating the price and quantity, the victim agreed to meet with the account owner, believed to be Coppedge, with the conversation ending upon the apparent arrival of both at a meeting spot at 11:44 p.m.
Surveillance footage accessed by law enforcement shows the victim and another man walking toward Coppedge's home on Mariposa Circle, according to Guzman's complaint, before they stop and sit at a nearby playground at 11:44 p.m. Coppedge was then seen walking out of her apartment at 11:45 p.m. and placing something in the victim's outstretched hand at 11:46 p.m., according to Guzman.
"Based on the Instagram messaging conversation, detectives suspect Victim purchased (3) M30 pills each for $25, totaling $75," Guzman said in the complaint. "Based on training and experience, detectives know the cost of 'M30' pills varies depending on different regions. Detectives know the average cost of an 'M30' is approximately $15-20 per pill. Based on training and experience, detectives believe $25 per pill is a reasonable price in Dublin, CA."
Police then obtained a search warrant for Coppedge's home and Instagram account, and confronted her outside her residence after conducting surveillance on July 9, 2022, during which they found one "M30" pill in a bag she was carrying and eight others in a backpack inside her home, all of which were found to contain fentanyl, according to the special agent.
The evidence provided in the complaint against Coppedge contains parallels with the evidence cited in the complaint against Watson in February, with the complaint against Coppedge highlighting samples of a conversation she had with someone referred to as "OW" in order to obtain pills that were sold to the victim. The complaint against Watson includes samples of an identical exchange with someone referred to as "JC".
In an exchange via Instagram messenger and text message the afternoon of July 6, 2022, Coppedge appears to have a conversation about meeting up to obtain pills from "OW", noting that she had already sold "half today" and is "so far at 580 this week," according to Guzman's complaint.
The complaint against Watson, which was filed on Feb. 10 and unsealed on Feb. 21, lays out a description of the same initial circumstances that spurred the investigation and complaint involving Coppedge -- the DPS response to the July 7 overdose, in which a victim was pronounced dead at the scene and a white powdery substance along with a container holding two "M30" pills was found in his bedroom.
The earlier complaint also details the findings of detectives' search of the victim's cellphone and social media accounts that were obtained on July 8, 2022 in which he corresponds with "JC" via the same Instagram handle alleged to be Coppedge's in the complaint against her.
The same conversation unfolds according to a sample in the complaint against Watson, which begins with the victim sending a message to "JC" via Instagram that says "lemme get 4."
"JC texted Watson, stating: 'got an $100 in cash' 'ima need to cop sometime before the week cuz I sold half today. Ill lyk whenn then u can grab the money too,'" DEA Special Agent Christine Truong said in the complaint against Watson. "Based on this text message, detectives believe JC was asking Watson for more tablets because she had sold half of what she had."
Upon obtaining a search warrant for Watson's Alamo home on July 13, 2022, detectives found approximately 130 "M30" pills total according to Truong's complaint, which were found to contain fentanyl upon DEA laboratory analysis.
"Based on my training and experience and conversations with experienced agents, the amount of fentanyl recovered from Watson's residence is not consistent with personal use, but for distribution," Truong said in the Feb. 10 complaint.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Chambers is prosecuting the cases against both Coppedge and Watson.
Coppedge faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, lifetime supervision, and/or up to a $1 million fine if found guilty. Her case is going through the U.S. Northern District of California Court, with her initial appearance May 24 before Magistrate Judge Kandis Westmore in Oakland.
Watson faces a maximum 20-year prison sentence and $250,000 fine. His arraignment had been set for May 24, but was rescheduled for June 23 following a stipulation that was filed on May 23.
"The government has provided defense counsel with new discovery over the last several weeks," federal prosecutors including Chambers said in the May 23 stipulation. "The parties would like to continue the hearing to June 23, 2023, to allow additional time for the parties to engage in discussions about potential resolution prior to Indictment, and for defense to review discovery. Furthermore, the government may have additional discovery to produce to defense counsel, as the discovery in this case is voluminous."
Coppedge's case is scheduled for a status conference on June 22.