Two Individuals in Federal Prison as Officers

Two Individuals in Federal Prison as Officers, Agents Target those Responsible for an Overdose Death in Park City

SALT LAKE CITY (STL.News) Jimmy Astudillo, age 32, of Salt Lake City, was sentenced to 65 months in federal prison for the possession of heroin with intent to distribute, related to his role in the distribution of narcotics that caused the fatal overdose of a Park City woman in 2018.

Astudillo previously entered his guilty plea in federal court in August.  In their court filings, prosecutors told the judge that the defendant’s criminal history suggests a near life-long pattern of serious crimes and, given the brazen and dangerous nature of defendant’s activities, recommended the court sentence Astudillo to 65 months in federal prison.

The investigation into the case began on May 10, 2018, when Park City police officers and deputies with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office responded to an apartment to check on a woman at the request of an acquaintance.  They found the woman, identified as CC in court filings, deceased.  The Office of the Medical Examiner later listed CC’s death as a drug overdose resulting from heroin and methamphetamine toxicity.

An overdose drug investigation targeting individuals who provided the methamphetamine and heroin started almost immediately.  According to documents filed in court, law enforcement officers and DEA agents used information provided by the acquaintance to start conducting interviews.  Officers served a subpoena on a Park City business for security footage for the evening of May 9, 2018, and a few days later, agents obtained a federal search warrant for CC’s Facebook Messenger records.

The Facebook records revealed communications between CC and Zachary Westerman during the evening hours of May 9, 2018.  The Messenger exchanges also revealed that Westerman had supplied CC with heroin and methamphetamine.

In the final five exchanges, Westerman told her he had $30 of black tar heroin and $20 of methamphetamine he would sell for $10, for a discounted total of $40. CC agreed.  Westerman then double checked the agreement, “So 40 total.” “Perfect,” CC said. A few minutes later, CC messaged Westerman, “Here.”

On Jan. 23, 2019, Westerman, age 36, of Sandy, pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of heroin in federal court in Salt Lake City.  He admitted that on May 9, 2018, he sold user-level amounts of heroin and methamphetamine to CC.  He was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison.  The sentence included an enhancement for CC’s death resulting from his conduct.

The investigation did not end there.

According to a sentencing memorandum filed in in federal court, Westerman, in a post-arrest interview, identified Jimmy Astudillo, as his supplier for the drugs he sold CC.  Agents obtained a federal search warrant for Astudillo’s Facebook account for the period of April 2 to Sept. 20, 2018.  Those records revealed numerous drug trafficking conversations between Astudillo and his drug customers.  In one, Astudillo bragged to one of his customers that his heroin was so strong that the “feds” were trying to blame him for overdose deaths in Utah and he had to be careful not to get caught.  Astudillo referred to the potent heroin as “fire.”

Agents arranged and conducted a controlled buy of one-ounce of heroin from Astudillo in 2018, paying $1,200.  Astudillo told the undercover officer that the heroin was “fire” (high quality).  He also told him the undercover he sells normal strength, cheaper heroin as well.  A second attempted undercover purchase of four ounces of heroin for $4,400 ended up not taking place.  Astudillo kept insisting the undercover officer (UC) get in his vehicle to drive them to the source of the supply nearby.  The UC would not get into the car and asked to see the heroin.  Astudillo then pulled out a bag of what appeared to be heroin, but the UC noticed the amount was likely not the agreed upon four ounces.  As Astudillo became agitated, the UC returned to his vehicle and left.

Federal agents arrested Astudillo on Dec. 19, 2018.  They also executed a search warrant at his home and found a small bag of heroin in a dresser drawer and a larger bag of heroin in a closet full of shoes.  The total weight of the seized heroin was about one pound.

In the sentencing memorandum, prosecutors told the court that following his arrest, Astudillo called his heroin supplier and advised him to destroy his phones and expressed the hope that he “could get back in the swing of things” with the supplier once out of custody.

Assistant United States Attorneys prosecuted the cases against Westerman and Astudillo.  The Summit County Sheriff’s Office, the Park City Police Department, and the DEA, conducted the investigation.

SOURCE: USDOJ.Today