Northern Colorado Fentanyl Dealer Sentenced to 25 Years for Teen's Fatal Overdose

Jump to a section
Expand list

A Northern Colorado man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in the fentanyl overdose death of a 15-year-old boy. Samuel Strait, 32, faced sentencing on Tuesday afternoon before 8th Judicial District Judge Daniel McDonald.

The case dates back to July 2022, when Strait sold fentanyl pills to the teenage victim. The boy, whose name is being withheld due to his age, had a history of addiction and had repeatedly contacted Strait to procure the drugs. The Northern Colorado Drug Task Force's investigation revealed that Strait had saved the boy's contact as "Black boy," indicating he was aware of the boy's juvenile status. This detail became a crucial element in the prosecution's argument.

During the sentencing, Strait showed visible signs of disbelief and disagreement, despite having pleaded guilty. The victim's family shared poignant photos and videos, showing the boy before and after his overdose, including heart-wrenching scenes from the ICU at Children's Hospital Colorado. Throughout this emotional display, Strait remained expressionless.

Prosecutors emphasized the severity of the crime, particularly focusing on the victim's young age as the most egregious factor. The family, along with investigators and prosecutors, urged Judge McDonald to impose the maximum sentence. In contrast, Strait’s defense argued for leniency, claiming that Strait had accepted responsibility and that his actions were influenced by his own struggles with addiction. Strait’s father also appealed to the court for a lighter sentence, suggesting that his son’s character had been marred by his opioid dependency.

Strait's case is one of the first in Colorado to result in a conviction under the state's new "distribution of fentanyl resulting in death" law, HB22-1326, enacted in 2022 to increase accountability for drug distributors. Larimer County has been a leader in prosecuting cases under this law, reflecting a broader effort to combat the opioid crisis in the state.

During the sentencing, Strait's lawyer criticized the presence of CBS News Colorado's camera, accusing the prosecution and the judge of turning the courtroom into a spectacle. Despite these objections, Strait took the opportunity to address the court. Clad in an orange jumpsuit and shackled, he expressed deep remorse for his actions. "I'm terribly ashamed and embarrassed to say my actions led to a 15-year-old getting his hands on a drug," he said, acknowledging the profound impact of his actions on the victim’s family and his own life. He also spoke about how incarceration had saved him from his heroin addiction, vowing to never return to his old ways.

Judge McDonald, condemning the drug epidemic as a "cancer" to society, handed down the 25-year sentence. Strait’s disappointment was palpable as he briefly lowered his head upon hearing the decision.

The case highlights the collaborative efforts of multiple agencies, including the Loveland detectives, Fort Collins detective, and the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force, under the leadership of Lt. Mark Hertz. “Fentanyl is a deadly drug that has claimed far too many lives in our community," Hertz stated. "Here in Larimer County, we will hold people accountable for their complicity in overdose deaths. Too many families have been disrupted and forever changed because of this deadly drug."

The sentencing of Samuel Strait marks a significant moment in the fight against the opioid crisis in Colorado. It serves as a stark reminder of the devastating impact of fentanyl and the urgent need for continued vigilance and accountability in combating this public health emergency. The case also underscores the critical role of community and law enforcement collaboration in addressing and mitigating the effects of the drug epidemic.

Find lasting sobriety at Avenues.

Call us anytime. Seriously.


Fully covered by
most insurances

Inpatient and
outpatient options

10 locations
across the US

I can't talk now—call me later Does my insurance cover this?

Check your insurance

We received your insurance request!

We will get back to you shortly. While you wait... you may find our resource blog helpful. Take a look below: