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Family who lost son to fentanyl believes dealer deserved harsher sentence

Plea gives dealer three years probation; family protests separate incident
Family who lost son to fentanyl believes dealer deserved harsher sentence
Posted at 8:57 PM, Jul 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 22:57:32-04

ADAMS COUNTY — On Thursday, Sergio Guerra-Carillo was sentenced to three years of probation, drug treatment, monitored sobriety, and a one year Department of Corrections sentence was suspended.

Guerra-Carillo pleaded guilty in Adams County District Court to DF4 Possession of a Controlled Substance with intent to distribute. Attorneys claim he had more than four grams of pills believed to be a form of fentanyl on Jan. 20, 2022.

Outside the courthouse, a group gathered to protest the sentence given to Guerra-Carillo. Many held signs with pictures of 18-year-old Max Osterman.

"Max was very intelligent, energetic, kind, loving, thoughtful," said his mother, Kimberly. “An incredibly loving son. And unfortunately, he's no longer with us today because of fentanyl.”

Osterman died in February 2021 after ingesting fentanyl. Those with the 17th Judicial District said Broomfield police believe, based on evidence, that Guerra-Carillo was the source of the fentanyl that killed Osterman.

The 17th Judicial District said they did not believe manslaughter or distribution charges could be proved in the case that Guerra-Carillo was present for on Thursday. Guerra-Carillo was being sentenced for a separate case, when officers found more than 40 M30 pills, which are often counterfeit and cut with fentanyl.

However, Osterman's mother addressed the court directly during the sentencing.

“I am now Max's voice. I am also the voice for every other person that has lost a loved one as a result of fentanyl poisoning," Kimberly said in the courtroom. “Sergio can be found on Snapchat and within minutes, you can be supplied with M30 pills, cocaine, anything, and in large quantities. ... He needs a much tougher sentencing. I'm not happy with this plea deal.”

Snapchat conversation
Kimberly Osterman said she took this photograph of what she believes to be her son Max's conversation with Sergio Guerra-Carillo on Snapchat.

Osterman's parents said three years of probation is not a sufficient punishment for the possession with intent to distribute charge.

“The dealer sold the deadly drug and took a life. He needs to be put away for murder, for homicide, drug induced homicide," said Kimberly. “These dealers need to be taken off the streets. They need to be charged with their crimes. They're being dismissed.”

The 17th Judicial District issued the following statement:

Today, Sergio Guerra-Carillo pleaded guilty in Adams County District Court to DF-4 Possession of a Controlled Substance for possessing four grams of fentanyl on January 20, 2022. Mr. Guerra-Carillo was subsequently sentenced to a period of probation and ongoing drug treatment to assist with his addiction issues.

Prior to today’s hearing, it was brought to our attention that the mother of Max Osterman, an 18-year-old who died in Broomfield on February 3, 2021, after ingesting a large amount of fentanyl, wished to address the court prior to sentencing.

The Court granted that request and allowed Max’s mother to speak during today’s hearing.

The Broomfield Police Department investigated Max’s death and presented evidence to our office earlier this year against Mr. Guerra-Carillo. Detectives presented this evidence for our office to consider the filing of manslaughter and distribution charges because they believed Mr. Guerra-Carillo was the source of the fentanyl that killed Max. 

After a careful evaluation of the evidence, we concluded that manslaughter and distribution could not be proven in this case, and we could not file either of those charges.

While Max’s mother spoke during today’s hearing, his death and the circumstances surrounding it did not factor into Mr. Guerra-Carillo’s sentencing. The District Attorney’s Office must evaluate cases individually and separately and can only consider actual convictions when factoring criminal history into a plea agreement. The Judge also cannot consider an incident that did not lead to the filing of charges when sentencing an individual on an entirely separate case.

The fentanyl scourge continues to plague our communities. We are flagging and individually assessing each and every one of these cases in our office. We are also attempting to reach a disposition that is not solely rooted in incarceration but also rehabilitation for those who are in a position to receive necessary treatment. We will not be able to simply arrest and prosecute our way out of this problem, we must be thoughtful about our handling of these cases.  

We fully understand Ms. Osterman’s frustration, and we cannot even begin to imagine the pain and sorrow she feels following the death of her son. We extend our deepest condolences to Max’s family and friends. We have spoken directly to Ms. Osterman about the legal requirements that caused us to reach the decision following her son’s death. In publicly commenting on this investigation, we remain sensitive to the family’s privacy interests by not commenting on the facts that led to our decision to not file charges.
17th Judicial District Attorney's Office

*The video version of this story did not contain Guerra-Carillo's distribution charge because the statement from the 17th Judicial District did not reflect all of the charges from the plea deal.