Lawyer, Banker Dead From Consuming Same Illegal Drug Batch

( The drug dealer who operated an illegal on-demand cocaine delivery service that left three dead of overdoses from fentanyl-laced cocaine in a single day was convicted in Manhattan court last Monday.

On March 17, 2021, Billy Ortega, 36, directed one of his drug dealers, Kaylen Rainey, to transport cocaine to several Manhattan addresses, according to federal prosecutors. Rainey then delivered the fentanyl-laced cocaine to attorney Julia Gharamani, Credit Suisse trader Ross Mtangi, and social worker Amanda Scher, all of whom died of an overdose.

Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine. It takes only 2 milligrams of fentanyl, the equivalent of 5 grains of salt, to cause death. But because it is generally cut into other popular drugs, those who die of overdoses may not know they are taking fentanyl.

According to text messages with the three victims, Ortego boasted of a “new batch” of drugs his crew was selling that day. In one text to Amanda Scher, Ortega warned that the batch was particularly potent.

Last Monday, a Manhattan federal jury convicted Ortega on one count of narcotics conspiracy resulting in death, three counts of narcotics distribution resulting in death, and one count of use and carrying of a firearm in furtherance of the narcotics conspiracy.

Ortega faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison but could be looking at life, according to federal authorities. He will be sentenced at a later date.

Rainey and fellow drug runner William Drayton are also awaiting sentencing. Drayton pleaded guilty.

In a statement following Ortega’s conviction, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, said not only did Ortega run “a drug delivery service that delivered fentanyl” that killed three people in one day, but he was also “fully aware” that a previous customer had overdosed from the fentanyl-laced product he was selling, “yet continued sending the drugs to his victims.”