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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Northeast Washington families share pain of fentanyl addiction as Cusick man sentenced for dealing fatal drugs

Oct. 26, 2022 Updated Wed., Oct. 26, 2022 at 9:03 p.m.

Dylan Krogh, 28, died of a fentanyl overdose in April 2021. His family is still grieving. Left to right: Dylan’s father, Todd Krogh, with his granddaughter Vivienne Pedersen; stepmother Julie Matthews-Krogh; sister Mackenzie Pedersen; and brothers Ben and Austin Krogh. A man who sold Dylan Krogh the drug was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison on Wednesday.   (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Dylan Krogh, 28, died of a fentanyl overdose in April 2021. His family is still grieving. Left to right: Dylan’s father, Todd Krogh, with his granddaughter Vivienne Pedersen; stepmother Julie Matthews-Krogh; sister Mackenzie Pedersen; and brothers Ben and Austin Krogh. A man who sold Dylan Krogh the drug was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison on Wednesday.  (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

The damage wrought by the illicit opioid fentanyl to two Pend Oreille County families brought a pair of fathers to tears in a Spokane federal courtroom on Wednesday.

Todd Krogh continues to grieve his 28-year-old son, Dylan, who became hooked on the drug after a ranching injury and was found dead in his home near Newport, Washington, in April 2021. The man accused of selling Dylan Krogh drugs, 23-year-old Antoinne Holmes, of Cusick, Washington, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for distributing fentanyl during the hearing Wednesday. Holmes also was sentenced last week for selling drugs to a 16-year-old boy in Sandpoint who died.

Holmes’ father, Curt Holmes, urged U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rice to consider Antoinne Holmes’ own addiction before handing down his latest sentence. Curt Holmes described a fall his son had at the Kalispel Pow Wow Grounds in July 2016 while trying to prevent a friend from serious injury.

Holmes described finding his son in a pool of blood after he’d fallen on his head from a height of more than two stories. He went to the hospital, and Curt Holmes said he felt pressure to give his son medication to ease the pain caused by the fall.

“Antoinne told me he didn’t want the pain meds,” Curt Holmes told Rice, as his son, clad in a yellow Bonner County jail jumpsuit, wiped tears from his eyes with a tissue. “It breaks my heart to remember that comment, and to see where we’re at today.”

Todd Krogh said he appreciated that the Holmes family, which filled several rows of seats in Rice’s courtroom on Wednesday morning, was experiencing loss, too. But their loss was temporary, while his is permanent, Krogh said.

“They’re able to sit here today and look at him,” Todd Krogh said. “My family doesn’t have that luxury.”

Mackenzie Pedersen, Dylan Krogh’s sister, asked Rice to consider the role Holmes played in her brother’s death.

“He held Dylan’s hand through his addiction and walked him to his death,” Pedersen said.

Prosecutors could not prove that Holmes sold Krogh the pill that killed him. But he apologized to the Krogh family when he addressed Rice.

“Dylan was such an amazing person,” Holmes said. “I loved him.”

Holmes pleaded guilty in April to a single charge of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl. He admitted to distributing what are known as “Mexi-blues,” pills that resemble oxycodone but are laced with fentanyl, an opioid that is dozens of times stronger than morphine and can quickly cause someone to stop breathing. Holmes said he used online services such as Snapchat and Venmo to sell the drugs, according to court records.

Holmes was also sentenced in federal court for his role in the sale of the drug to the 16-year-old from Sandpoint who died. Rice ruled the 14-year sentence in the Washington case should run at the same time as the roughly 12-year sentence in the Idaho case, and that his time in prison should be followed by five years of supervised release in which he may be tested for drugs and his property searched.

Rice also made it clear that the sentence in Washington federal court did not take into account the deaths that occurred as the result of the drug-dealing.

“This isn’t a court where you’ve been charged with the death of another person,” Rice said. Rice did not address Holmes directly after announcing his sentence.

In November 2020, Holmes and his girlfriend, Reigan Rae Allen, used fentanyl in the presence of their infant, who began showing signs of an overdose. The infant was flown to Spokane from Pend Oreille County and received naloxone, a drug intended to rapidly reverse an overdose.

Allen was sentenced in August to 40 months in prison. She’s serving her sentence at a medium-security facility in Illinois.

“It’s careless, extremely negligent and they were extremely lucky,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Ellis told Rice about the episode.

Krogh died five months later, and Holmes was indicted on charges in Idaho that same week. A grand jury later returned the additional charges in Washington, and Holmes has already spent more than 1½ years in jail awaiting resolution of the case.

Holmes pledged to maintain his sobriety when released from custody.

“I will never in my life fall back down that path of destruction,” Holmes said.

Curt Holmes said his son’s story of addiction had been lost in the legal proceedings. He turned to his son and said he needed “to pay” for his drug dealing, but also said Antoinne was a victim of addiction.

“He was using the same stuff he was selling,” Curt Holmes said.

Curt Holmes said after the hearing he was concerned there weren’t enough resources to assist those abusing fentanyl, after seeing his son’s descent.

“Our system isn’t set up for this,” he said. “This is breaking all the rules.”

Todd Krogh said after the sentencing it was “an awful situation” and encouraged young people to be wary of the phrase “try this” at gatherings, because they may not know what’s in the pill. The family is assisting a public education effort in Newport and around the region to bring attention to the spread of fentanyl.

“The permanence of our experience is what’s the hardest,” Todd Krogh said.

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