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Leader of NYC Cocaine Delivery Service Convicted In Trio of Fatal Overdoses


Amanda Scher, Julia Ghahramani, and Ross Mtangi (L-R)

Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, says that Billy Ortega has been convicted in Manhattan federal court of distributing fentanyl that killed 3 NYC professionals: Julia Ghahramani, Amanda Scher, and Ross Mtangi.

The jury convicted Ortega after a 2-week trial before Judge Ronnie Abrams. The charges carry a min. sentence of 25 years and a max. sentence of life in prison.

Ortega ran a drug delivery service, using text messages and employing family members to manage drugs and deliveries. On March 17, 2021, Ortega delivered fentanyl-laced cocaine to the 3 victims who died from consuming it.

Despite receiving a warning text that his drugs had nearly killed someone else, Ortega delivered the drugs and later offered the same batch to another dealer.

On the day of the three poisonings – and prior to the fentanyl being delivered to any of the three victims – Ortega received the following text message from a different customer warning Ortega that his drugs had almost killed someone else. Specifically, at approximately 2:29 p.m. on March 17, 2021, that other customer sent Ortega the following text message: “Hey man. Just on a follow up from yesterday – I gave most of my last bag to my buddy and he just called me this second to say he ended up in hospital last night. [. . .] He had to get a Narcan shot and was released in the early hours.” Ortega read this text message prior to coordinating the three deliveries of the drugs, from the same fentanyl-tainted batch of cocaine, that killed the three victims in this case.

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Later that night on March 17, 2021, after the victims had stopped responding to his text messages, Ortega offered the fentanyl-tainted batch of cocaine to another drug dealer so he could test it out on “some girls.” Specifically, at approximately 10:25 p.m. on March 17, 2021, Ortega texted the drug dealer: “If you[’re] going to be around way let me know have some every one is saying it’s to[o] Strong . . . Give it to some girls and you let me know lol bro.”

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