Former first responder gets 29 years in co-worker's overdose death

A former California first responder was sentenced to 29 years in federal prison for selling fentanyl to two of his hospital co-workers, resulting in the overdose death of one of them.

Cruz Noel Quintero, 43, of Long Beach, Calif., was found guilty of one count of distributing fentanyl resulting in death, one count of possessing machine guns, two counts of possessing unregistered firearms, one count of maintaining a drug-involved premises, and one count of possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime after a trial in September, according to a June 14 Justice Department news release.

On May 19, 2019, Mr. Quintero — who was employed as an emergency medical technician at a Long Beach hospital — sold white powder to a hospital co-worker. He claimed the powder was cocaine when it was in fact fentanyl. The co-worker and her partner, a former nurse at the hospital, sampled the powder the next morning and passed out. One of them, identified only as S.F., died of an overdose.

After discovering the fatal overdose, law enforcement discovered Mr. Quintero's drug-trafficking operation along with 13 firearms. He was arrested shortly after the fatal overdose in May 2019. In June 2023, he was sentenced to 292 months for the fentanyl death, 240 months for maintaining a drug premises, 120 months for the firearms and 60 months for possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, the release said.

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