CEDAR RAPIDS – A Waterloo man who distributed a fake Percocet pill containing fentanyl that killed his customer was sentenced December 5, 2023, to thirteen years in federal prison.
Tarron Lechtenberg, age 23, from Waterloo, Iowa, received the prison term after a July 5, 2023 guilty plea to one count of distribution of a controlled substance.
Evidence at a prior hearing and information presented at sentencing showed that, in July 2020, Lechtenberg regularly sold marijuana, THC wax, and purported Xanax and Percocet pills in the North Washington, Iowa area. The purported Percocet pills, commonly referred to as “Perc 30s,” in fact contained fentanyl, and not oxycodone. In the evening of July 29, 2023, Lechtenberg distributed half of a “Perc 30” pill to a 19‑year‑old, J.C., who used the pill at Lechtenberg’s house. At approximately midnight, some friends drove J.C. from Lechtenberg’s house but returned to the house after J.C. began overdosing in their vehicle. Lechtenberg and the group put J.C. into a chair in the backyard and the friends left. One of the friends texted Lechtenberg later that night, asking if J.C. was okay. Lechtenberg responded, “No. He’s dead. JK, LOL.” J.C. was not conscious and was having snoring respirations. At around 4:00 a.m., Lechtenberg noticed that J.C. “didn’t look good” and called a friend to help him move J.C. into Lechtenberg’s vehicle so he could seek medical help. At approximately 4:45 a.m., Lechtenberg sped by a Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Deputy, slammed on his brakes, and returned to the deputy’s location to ask for help. J.C. was unresponsive and slumped over on the rear seat of Lechtenberg’s vehicle. Efforts by the deputy and first responders to revive J.C. were unsuccessful. J.C.’s death was determined to be from acute fentanyl intoxication.
Lechtenberg was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams. Lechtenberg was sentenced to 156 months’ imprisonment. He was ordered to make $8,182.45 in restitution to J.C.’s family. He must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.
Lechtenberg is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.
The case was investigated by the Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Office, the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Dan Chatham and Jason Norwood.