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Grand Junction man convicted of distributing street drugs containing fentanyl

Bruce Holder, 55, and co-conspirators distributed tens of thousands of pills that resulted in the death of a Carbondale man.

DENVER — A Grand Junction man was convicted in U.S. District Court for distributing tens of thousands of pills that appeared to be Oxycodone but were in fact counterfeit and spiked with fentanyl, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said Tuesday.

Bruce Holder, 55, was found guilty after an 11-day trial in U.S. District Court in Denver. Holder worked with co-conspirators that included his wife, children and other family members to distribute the pills in 2017 and 2018, the DEA said in a news release.

In December 2017, a young man in Carbondale died after using one of the pills. Evidence showed the man wouldn't have died if not for the fentanyl in the pills, the DEA said.

Even though he knew of the death, Holder and his co-conspirators continued to import the pills from Mexico into Western Colorado, the release says. They still imported the pills even after Holder was arrested in August 2018, the DEA said.

> Video above: The reason for the recent strain on Denver's coroner's office (it's not COVID).

“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 the 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.”

Assisting agencies in the investigation included the FBI, ATF, HSI, USMS, Western Colorado Drug Task Force, Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team (“TRIDENT”), Carbondale Police Department, Fruita Police Department, Grand Junction Police Department, and the Mesa County Sheriff's Office.

 Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Chaffin and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Pena handled the prosecution of the case, the DEA said.

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