LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. – A Larimer County dealer who sold fentanyl that killed a woman last year became the first person sentenced under a new Colorado law aimed at fighting the fentanyl epidemic, the 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
Andrea Branco was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections after pleading guilty in early August to fentanyl distribution causing death, as Class 1 felony, after selling fentanyl to Kara Gorman, who was killed after consuming the drug on Sept. 1, 2022.
The charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, was signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis in May of last year.
Calling Thursday’s sentencing “the first of its kind,” Eighth Judicial District Attorney Gordon P. McLaughlin praised the collaboration between several agencies to go after fentanyl dealers that are “killing members of our communities.”
The sentencing, he said, “marks a turning point in our ability to hold those committing murder with fentanyl accountable and proves these laws are a successful piece of combating the fentanyl epidemic.”
The prosecution presented evidence to the court showing Branco was distributing illegal drugs to multiple users and “specifically began a conversation with Ms. Gorman to entice her to purchase drugs, ultimately selling her four fentanyl pills and providing the means to use them,” according to a news release.
“…This new law allows us to hold the worst actors accountable and find some sense of justice for the victims. My deepest condolences go out to Ms. Gorman’s family and friends,” DA McLaughlin said following the sentencing Thursday.
The new law not only carries harsher penalties for those who possess or distribute fentanyl, it also creates programs for addiction prevention and treatment, addresses better investigatory funding for law enforcement, and allocates funds for wider access to naloxone and testing strips.