1st Person Convicted in CA of Fentanyl-Related Murder Sentenced to 15 years in Prison

PLACER COUNTY, Calif. —The man who was the first person to receive a fentanyl murder conviction in California was sentenced to 15 years in prison in Placer County on Tuesday.

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Nathaniel Cabacungan, 22, was convicted of second-degree murder for the fentanyl-related death of a teenage girl from Roseville.

Roseville police said the 15-year-old girl, Jewels Wolf, was found dead in June of 2022.

Cabacungan was given an “indeterminate sentence of 15 years to life” in prison, meaning he has to serve the full 15 years before he is eligible for parole.

He was also sentenced to nine “concurrent years” for distributing narcotics to a minor. Those nine years will be served at the same time as the previous 15.

Cabacungan will remain at the Placer County Jail for the next few days until he’s taken to the California Department of Corrections. It’s not clear what state prison he’ll be placed in.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta was also at the press conference with Wolf’s family after the sentencing.

His office was directly involved in the investigation and in Cabacungan’s arrest.

“If you are pedaling fentanyl and you have conscious disregard for the life of another, you can be charged, and charged and convicted for murder, as was here,” Bonta said. “The existing law provides for that and a very strong case was built here and we will come after you.”

Jewels’ mother, Regina Chavez, said that she knew obtaining a murder conviction for a fentanyl poisoning would be an uphill battle because it would be the first for California.

“However, I knew my daughter’s case was in good hands when both District Attorney Dan Wesp and the detective assured me that they were up for the challenge to hold the defendant accountable for murder,” she said.

Chavez added that although the conviction and sentencing won’t bring Jewels back, she’s honored to know that Jewels’ story could save lives moving forward.

“The game has changed for fentanyl dealers and distributors. The precedent has been set. An individual can and will be charged for murder with the act of distributing and selling deadly products containing sentinel and Placer County,” she said.

Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire said the sentencing demonstrated that “we can hold fentanyl dealers, those who knowingly sell poison in our communities. We can hold them accountable and we will.”

He said the “real strength” comes from families who have lost loved ones to the fentanyl crisis.

Click here to read the full article in KCRA

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