Oregon Man Caught on TV at 2019 Trailblazers Game Sentenced in Fatal Fentanyl Overdose

US Attorneys Office

Billy Ray Trueblood II, 33, was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and four years’ supervised release, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.

An Oregon man was sentenced to federal prison Tuesday for distributing fentanyl that caused the 2019 fatal overdose of a Beaverton man. The suspect was found after an investigator saw him on television during a Portland Trailblazers basketball game, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Billy Ray Trueblood II, 33, was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and four years’ supervised release, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.

In March 2019, authorities responded to a fatal overdose of Alex Reser, a 30-year-old accountant, who was found unresponsive by his roommates, OregonLive reported.

An autopsy later confirmed he died from an acute fentanyl overdose.

Officials said Reser became addicted to opioids after using prescription painkillers in college to deal with athletic injuries, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Investigators learned the victim had been buying drugs from Trueblood since college and just before his passing sent him text messages to buy “blues,” a term used to describe counterfeit Oxycodone pills made with fentanyl, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

As the investigation unfolded, Trueblood’s whereabouts were unknown until two months after Reser’s overdose when an investigator happened to be watching his beloved Portland Trailblazers in the NBA playoffs and noticed their suspect sitting just behind the team’s bench, authorities said.

After it was confirmed that it was indeed Trueblood at the Trailblazers game, the investigators relayed the information to police officers at the game who located and arrested him, the U.S. Attorneys Office said.

During his arrest, Trueblood was found in possession of a large amount of cash and several types of pills including some that resembled those found in the deceased victim’s bedroom, authorities said.

On Nov. 10, 2020, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a three-count indictment charging Trueblood with distributing fentanyl, distributing fentanyl resulting in death, and possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl.

On May 30, 2023, Trueblood pleaded guilty to distributing fentanyl.

Prosecutors said Trueblood sold Reser about 700 counterfeit oxycodone pills between May 2018 and January 2019, a review of their text messages revealed, OregonLive reported.

Reser’s loved ones spoke in court and asked U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman not to give any leniency to Trueblood, especially since he was caught on TV enjoying himself at a basketball game, OregonLive reported.

“[Alex] had so much to live for, but he died one day after we returned [from vacation],” his father, Marty Reser, said in court. “For Billy, it was all about the buck …We were hoping for justice because our son Alex is not coming back … No one will ever again have the opportunity to spend time, create more memories with Alex.”

Alex Reser’s sister, Nikki Bianchini, also spoke in court and spoke highly of her brother, saying he was her “best friend,” and was a guy “who lived with no fear” with a “childlike spirit,” according to OregonLive.

Trueblood also spoke in court and apologized to the Reser family as well as his own family and said that he had sold the pills to feed his own addictions, according to OregonLive.

“I know I’m responsible for his death. I hope you know I never meant for any of this to happen,” he said. “To the Reser family, I’m so terribly sorry for all the pain and sorrow I have caused … I hope that one day you can find it in your hearts to forgive me, but I understand if you can’t. I’m truly sorry from the bottom of my heart. I hope today will give you some closure, and I’m sorry that it’s taken so long.”

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