Greybull Man To Be Wyoming’s First Manslaughter Conviction For Fentanyl-Laced Drugs

If a judge accepts his guilty plea, a Greybull man will be the first person in Wyoming convicted of selling drugs that led to the death of another person.

Jen Kocher

June 07, 20246 min read

If a judge accepts his Alford plea, Anthony Michael Fuentes would become the first person in Wyoming to be convicted of manslaughter for selling someone fentanyl-laced drugs that led to death.
If a judge accepts his Alford plea, Anthony Michael Fuentes would become the first person in Wyoming to be convicted of manslaughter for selling someone fentanyl-laced drugs that led to death. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A Greybull man entered a variation of a guilty plea Wednesday for manslaughter stemming from the sale of two fentanyl-laced pills that led to the overdose death of 25-year-old Jordan Jackson of Cody.

If accepted, it will be the first time in Wyoming a person will be convicted of selling drugs that led to the death of another person.

Anthony Michael Fuentes, 37, entered an Alford plea in Park County District Court on Wednesday before Judge William Simpson. In entering the plea, Fuentes is essentially pleading guilty as part of a plea deal while maintaining his innocence. The deal leaves sentencing to the discretion of the court in what’s known as a “cold plea.”

The maximum sentence for manslaughter in Wyoming is up to 20 years in prison, a fine of no more than $10,000, or both.

As part of the plea agreement, Park County Deputy Attorney Jack Hatfield II agreed to drop a second lesser charge of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance.

Two Crimes, Two Counties

The manslaughter charge stems from earlier drug charges in neighboring Big Horn County related to Jackson’s death Jan. 2, 2023, when Fuentes sold two fake oxycodone pills containing fentanyl to Jackson, who is referred to as "J.J." in charging documents.

Jackson was found dead in his apartment in Cody the next day, and an autopsy revealed that he died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl.

Special Agent Jonathan Shane Reece of the Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation testified that he traced Jackson’s purchase of drugs back to Fuentes using Jackson's phone after his death, according to documents filed in the case.

The agent then used the Signal app on Jackson’s phone to buy two suspected fentanyl-laced counterfeit oxycodone pills that later tested positive for fentanyl and led to Fuentes’ arrest.

When questioned by the agent, Fuentes later admitted to getting 40 counterfeit pills in Denver, two of which he sold to “J.J.” for $80, court documents state.

Fuentes was charged with four felonies, including possession of counterfeit oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl and intent to deliver as well as a misdemeanor charge for drug possession.

On Dec. 19, Fuentes pleaded no contest to the felonies and was sentenced to three to five years in the Wyoming State Penitentiary. A no contest plea is a type of guilty plea in which a defendant neither admits nor denies the charge but agrees there’s a probability of a conviction and accepts punishment in lieu of a trial.

New Manslaughter Charges

Though the drugs were sold in Big Horn County, Jackson died at his apartment in Cody, opening Fuentes up to new charges of manslaughter in the neighboring county.

At question was whether Fuentes knew that the illicit opioids he sold to Jackson contained deadly fentanyl, which his lawyer, Christina Cherni, argued he did not. When questioned by his attorney, Fuentes said he thought the pills were Percocets and that he didn’t realize they were “hot,” meaning containing fentanyl, until he was questioned by police.

The state disagreed.

Testifying at Fuentes’ preliminary hearing in Park County Circuit Court in January, Agent Reece said that though Fuentes didn’t explicitly admit to knowing the drugs contained fentanyl, he also didn’t deny when asked.

“When I was questioning him, I referred to the tablets as fentanyl tablets or counterfeit oxycodone, and he never corrected me,” Reece said.

Hatfield further argued that Fuentes had pleaded no contest to the earlier charges in Big Horn County, meaning he accepted the conviction that he sold illicit opioids laced with fentanyl.

During the hearing, Hatfield also cited Fuentes’ extensive experience selling pills as cause for advancing the charges.

“We know that we're dealing with Mr. Anthony Fuentes, not only by his admissions, but all of the totality of the evidence that clearly shows he was in the business of selling fentanyl,” Hatfield said. “Not only to other individuals, but he admitted that he is selling fentanyl to Mr. Jordan Jackson on multiple occasions prior to that.”

Park County Circuit Judge Darrah sided with the state and upheld the charges.

In conclusion, Judge S. Joseph Darrah sided with the state on both charges.

“I find that under the totality of the circumstances that I'm able to connect all the dots,” Judge Darrah said, using the analogy that selling one of the illicit opioids was akin to playing Russian roulette with a loaded gun.

Not A Done Deal Yet

Though Fuentes agreed to the Alford plea Wednesday in Park County District Court, Judge Simpson has not formally accepted it yet because he said he’d only heard of the offer in court that day and had not had time to review it in writing.

Judge Simpson took time to explain the nature of the plea and its origins in case law.

“An Alford plea differs from a conventional guilty plea because you are denying your guilt, and therefore, you do not supply a satisfactory basis for the plea, but instead you seek to obtain the benefit of a plea bargain to avoid a potentially harsher sentence that you might receive. If the matter goes to trial and you were convicted,” he said.

He also made clear that an Alford plea has the same preclusive effect as a guilty plea with regard to civil litigation.

Though Fuentes indicated that he understood the charges and ramifications of the plea, Judge Simpson said he wanted to first review the pre-sentence investigation report given the gravity of the crime and sentence. He indicated that he would likely accept the plea but not without proper and thorough review.

“This is a significant case it has ramifications for all sides. It's not to be taken lightly,” Judge Simpson said.

Setting Precedent

If accepted, it will be the first time anyone in Wyoming has been charged with and convicted of manslaughter for any drug overdose, including fentanyl, according to Big Horn County Prosecuting Attorney Marcia Bean, who prosecuted the initial felony charges.

The state is asking for the maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison with possible restitution and other fees left to the discretion of the court.

As of Friday morning, no decision had been entered into court.

Both Cherni and Hatfield requested that all parties appear in person at Fuentes’ sentencing after which Judge Simpson will determine the sentence, assuming the plea is accepted.

Jackson’s mother, Brenda Armstrong, declined to comment on the plea, though told Cowboy State Daily that she and her family plan to be at the sentencing to deliver their victim statements in person.

Fuentes is being held on a $100,000 cash bond in the Park County Detention Center while waiting his sentencing for the manslaughter charge.

Jen Kocher can be reached at

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Jen Kocher

Features, Investigative Reporter