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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) — Nathaniel Corser received 20 years behind bars for the distribution of fentanyl resulting in death. 

In July 2021, Corser sold pills to 19-year-old Kaeden Norlander, who died of a fentanyl overdose the following day. The sentence in the case marks the U.S. Attorney’s toughest penalty handed down in a fentanyl case in Colorado.

“Twenty years is a long time to spend in a federal prison. Today’s sentence reflects the longest sentence to date that’s been handed down in a federal courtroom in Colorado for a death directly attributable to fentanyl,” U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado Cole Finegan said.

Federal prosecutors say Corser, 23, sold two blue pills with the imprints “M” and “30” to Norlander at a park in Colorado Springs. The drugs appeared to be prescription oxycodone pills but actually contained fentanyl.

Blue fentanyl-laced oxycodone pills
FILE – This photo provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Utah and introduced as evidence in a 2019 trial shows fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills collected during an investigation. (U.S. Attorney’s Office for Utah via AP)

Norlander took both pills, and his aunt found him dead in his bedroom the day after the drug deal. The El Paso coroner’s office said the death was a result of fentanyl intoxication.

“Selling these drugs these days is not the same as selling drugs before. It’s like shooting a gun randomly out in public. You never know what these pills may do what it did here,” said Judge Daniel Domenico before imposing the sentence, which will be followed by three years of supervised release.

Laurie Norlander speaks during a press conference
Laurie Norlander, mother of 19-year-old Kaeden Norlander (KDVR)

Norlander’s family said they hope this sentence sends a message and saves lives in the future.

“We hope that can discourage future drug sales and that it can help to make a difference, and that others don’t have to suffer the same way that we have,” said the victim’s cousin, Samantha May.

“It’s very tragic, and like Sammy said, hopefully, this will be a wakeup call for a lot of parents, kids, whatever. Knowing one pill can kill you, you might think you’re getting one thing, but you’re getting your death sentence,” his mom, Laurie Norlander, said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.