Man responsible for first major fentanyl case in Colorado awaiting sentencing

Fentanyl has become a growing issue
Fentanyl has become a growing issue(U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah/DEA/MGN)
Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 5:39 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A man tied to multiple fentanyl cases in Colorado is awaiting sentencing. This is scheduled to happen on Aug. 17, according to our news partners at the Gazette, who have been working on an in-depth story set to be published in Tuesday’s edition of the Gazette.

According to the Department of Justice, Bruce Holder from Grand Junction was convicted in 2021 of distributing fentanyl, resulting in the death of at least one person. A man connected to Holder, and accused of selling pills to the man reportedly killed by Holder’s fentanyl pills, was sentenced to 14 years in prison back in March.

The Gazette told 11 News that Holder got his start in Colorado in 2016. They said he would make frequent runs to Mexico to bring up to 2,000 pills back to Grand Junction on the Western Slope.

Seth Klamann, a health reporter with the Gazette and one of the reporters who has been working on a long-form story on Holder since February, said the most surprising part of Holder’s story isn’t that he was the first major player in the state’s fentanyl crisis, but rather, how he was able to distribute it.

“His family was intimately involved as his wife was helped him transport the pills over, you know, dozens of trips,” Klamann explained. “His ex-wife received pills and was indicted alongside him. His teenage son was given pills by him because his son wanted basketball shoes.”

To Carol McKinley, an enterprise reporter at the Gazette who also worked on the story, another surprising aspect of the story is how saturated the market for fentanyl has become in Colorado.

“He would get 2000 pills at a time, hide them in his glove box, he would drive for a day to get them, a day back,” McKinley said of Holder. “But now, just the other day, 25 million pills, it wasn’t pills it was powder-but the equivalent of 25 million pills, was found on I-70.”

The Gazette is releasing the full story of Bruce Holder, his family, and how fentanyl is impacting Colorado on Tuesday.

You will be able to find the story on their website. Until then, click here to subscribe to the Gazette.

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