On Friday, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor sentenced Lionel Henderson to 210 months in prison after accepting a guilty plea from him in November of last year on a charge of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
Henderson’s ex-girlfriend, 29-year-old Shameka Mason, also pleaded guilty in August 2022 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance. However, she received a much more lenient sentence of two years in federal prison.
The victim, identified only by his initials J.D.K., was 27 years old and had received fentanyl-laced oxycodone tablets from his cousin, who had purchased them from Henderson and Mason. Prosecutors say J.D.K. also gave some of the pills to one of his coworkers, who was hospitalized with fentanyl poisoning on June 12, 2020, the same day J.D.K. took the pills that killed him.
“During an interview at a Denton hospital, the coworker told investigators that he and J.D.K. split what appeared to be a 30mg oxycodone tablet. He said some of the remaining pills were stored at J.DK.’s home in Graham, Oklahoma,” the DOJ stated.
“Agents searched the bedroom and recovered one round blue tablet marked M/30, three green rectangle tablets marked S/90/3, and one pink capsule with illegible markings. The blue M/30 — which appeared identical to brand name oxycodone — instead tested positive for butyryl fentanyl.”
Henderson and Mason were caught after federal agents used a confidential informant to purchase illegal drugs from them. A search warrant of Henderson’s residence turned up hundreds of other pills that contained substances including ecstasy, acetaminophen, and fentanyl. Police also found weapons on the premises, per the DOJ.
The government indicated Mason told investigators Henderson had been involved in selling narcotics since at least December 2018, and Henderson said in his plea documents that he had been distributing substances with fentanyl in them since March 2020.
Gov. Greg Abbott made fentanyl trafficking an emergency item on the Texas legislative agenda during his State of the State address in February. The governor has called for fentanyl trafficking to be chargeable as murder if it results in someone’s death.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."