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Auburn Sentinel

Fentanyl Dealer Receives 15 Years to Life in Prison

Oct 20, 2023 03:31PM ● By Placer County District Attorney's Office

ROSEVILLE, CA (MPG) - On Oct. 10, 2023, the Honorable Angus Saint-Evans sentenced Nathaniel Cabacungan, age 22, to 15 years to life in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation following his murder conviction for the death of local Roseville teen, J. Wolf.

On July 12, 2022, Cabacungan pled guilty to murder as well as selling a controlled substance to a minor for causing the fentanyl death of local Roseville teen, J. Wolf.

The defendant was arrested after an investigation by the Placer Special Investigations Unit ("PSIU"), a collaborative effort by the California Department of Justice, Placer County Sheriff's Office, Placer County District Attorney's Office, Roseville Police Department, Rocklin Police Department, Auburn Police Department, and the Placer County Probation Department.

The defendant appeared in Placer County Superior Court on Tuesday morning for the sentencing. Supervising Deputy District Attorney Daniel Wesp, supervisor of the Placer County District Attorney's Office Special Prosecutions Unit, represented the People of Placer County, supported by the Placer County Sheriff's Office dedicated detective to PSIU.

J. Wolf's parents, among many other loved ones, made victim impact statements with the support of their Victim Advocate from the Placer County District Attorney's Office Victim Services Unit. Family members, friends, community members and local officials also attended today's court hearing in support of the victim's family.

“Our message is simple: do not sell this poison in Placer County. This historic sentence affirms our county's commitment to holding fentanyl dealers accountable,” said Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire. “Through aggressive prosecution, county-wide investigations, support from our local officials, and our 1 Pill Can Kill Placer campaign, we will save lives through education, enforcement and empowering our community members. We will continue to stand with the Wolf family to honor her memory by educating our kids of the dangers of fentanyl.”

The county also held a press conference following the hearing on efforts being taken outside of the courtroom to combat this fentanyl epidemic, including the county's new collaboration with Song for Charlie and their education portal.

“On behalf of my daughter Jewels, my family and I would like to thank the Placer County District Attorney's Office and the special detective assigned to my daughter's case,” said Jewel's mother Regina Chavez. “They worked endlessly and diligently to bring justice for Jewels by obtaining the first murder conviction in California history for fentanyl poisoning. Though this victory does not bring my precious daughter back, I am honored to know that Jewels' story is going to help save many lives going forward. The game has changed for fentanyl dealers and distributors. The precedent has been set - individuals can and will be charged for murder for selling deadly products containing fentanyl in Placer County and my beautiful Jewels helped set that precedent.”

“We find a semblance of justice in today's sentencing, yet nothing will ever fill the void left by our beloved daughter Jewels”, said Jewel's father Jake Wolf. “The consequences of fentanyl and the pain it inflicts on families like ours are heart-wrenchingly real and lasting. Our continuous fight against the opioid epidemic honors Jewel's memory, advocating for a future where no parent must endure such unimaginable loss. We are profoundly thankful for the diligent work of the of the Placer County District Attorney, Morgan Gire, his office, and their investigators who brought this individual to justice.”

Placer County Sheriff Wayne Woo said: “Today, we stand united in our commitment to protect our community from the devastating grip of the fentanyl epidemic. Together with the support of the Placer County District Attorney's office, we pledge to relentlessly pursue those who sell this deadly poison on our streets. Our mission is clear: to ensure the safety and well-being of our citizens, holding fentanyl dealers accountable to the highest extent of the law. Let this be a resounding message – in the face of this epidemic, we remain vigilant and will tirelessly pursue fentanyl dealers in our commitment to save lives.”

“Listening to the stories of the families of the victims lost to fentanyl poisoning was gut-wrenching,” said State Assemblyman Joe Patterson. “Thank you to the incredible work of our Placer County DA and Placer Sheriff's Office, justice was served today. No sentence can bring back a life lost but today's murder conviction sends a clear message, the peddling of dangerous drugs like fentanyl will not be tolerated in Placer County. Today was a sobering reminder of why we must fully tackle the fentanyl crisis with a multi-pronged approach of education, treatment, and accountability.”

“Throughout the nation, we continue to address the impacts of the opioid crisis, and have, in recent years, seen a marked increase in fentanyl use and associated deaths,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Today we grieve the loss of yet another young life to this drug — a loss that should never have occurred in the first place. We hope that today's sentencing brings some sense of closure to this young woman's family. Let this be a warning to the poison peddlers in California's neighborhoods: We will hold you accountable. I want to thank the Placer County District Attorney and our law enforcement partners in Placer County for working with us to make our community safer.”

“Our county continues to be at the tip of the spear regarding the fentanyl crisis due to the dedication of every department, official and community members,” said Placer County Board of Supervisor Chairman Jim Holmes. “We support the efforts of our District Attorney and law enforcement in securing this historic conviction. Placer County stands united in their fight against this deadly poison and for the safety of our youth in our county.”

“We're grateful for the strong partnerships we've forged in Placer County to address the fentanyl crisis and better protect our young people,” said Health and Human Services Director Rob Oldham. “The more prevention and education we do, the better we can prevent tragic outcomes and turn the tide.”

To learn more about countywide efforts visit www.1PillcanKillPlacer.com and www.placer.ca.gov/FightingFentanyl.

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