By Sarah Fili
OMAHA, Nebraska (KETV) — An Omaha man will spend 15 years in federal prison for dealing a deadly fentanyl pill.
The Iowa case killed 20-year-old Jared Ludwigs in 2021.
The courtroom was packed full of family of Ludwigs and of Jerome Wallace.
Both men were 20 when they met for that drug deal and now leave their families to deal with the fallout two years later.
Two families are forever changed. A conversation between two mothers happens after sentencing outside the federal courthouse in Council Bluffs. One mother lost her 20 year old son in 2021 to an overdose: a pill laced with fentanyl. The other’s son dealt that deadly pill.
“He willingly did what he did. He sold my son his death in a pill,” said Jessica Ludwigs, Jared Ludwigs’ mother.
Jessica Ludwigs walked the judge through how she found her son slumped over on the couch.
How investigators tracked that deadly pill to a conversation on Snapchat with 20-year-old Jerome Wallace.
She walked prosecutors through her son’s personality, his “genuine heart” and how his loss means every single person who knows him has lost a piece of themselves.
In the courtroom, Ludwigs spoke directly to Wallace, saying he admitted he knew he was dealing pills with fentanyl and sold them anyways. “You chose to be a drug dealer. You quantified and monetized death,” Ludwigs said in court.
“Nothing ever said to him or could ever say to him would ever convey the devastation our family feels,” she said.
After heart-wrenching testimony from Jared’s father, sister and aunt, the judge sentenced Wallace to 15 years in federal prison and 10 years of supervised release once he’s out.
“It’s not fair, but it speaks volumes that this drug trade, this coming up on trying to make a profit off of other people doing drugs should not be tolerated,” Ludwigs said.
Wallace apologized to Lugwig’s family, saying, “I have to live with this for the rest of my life. It was never my intention to hurt anybody. I am deeply sorry. This wasn’t how I was raised. I was being more of a follower than a leader.”
The judge noted he had no criminal history. His mother said Wallace was offered full-ride scholarships to play basketball but fell in with a bad crowd. She said she is sorry, too, adding both men made mistakes.
She said her son’s guilty plea shows accountability on his part. For Ludwigs, no punishment will ever be enough.
“Fifteen years isn’t a great expanse of time. He’s still going to have a life after he’s released, and my son won’t,” she said.
Wallace did take a plea deal, Ludwigs’ family said he may be cooperating with investigators to help them trace those deadly drugs.
They said they want everyone to know these pills are deadly, saying her son was a good man, proving it can happen to any family.
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