A Step Closer to Safety: Thomas Gentry Jr. Conviction

Thomas Gentry Jr., MN DOC

By Paul Ostrow Nov. 10, 2023

The investigation, arrest, and conviction of Thomas Gentry Jr. for Aggravated Controlled Substance Crime in the First Degree for the possession with the intent to distribute 12,800 potentially lethal counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl was a major victory in the fight to save lives in Minnesota. We were able to work with county, state, and federal investigators to use the “kingpin” statute adopted by the legislature in 2016 targeted at major controlled substance offenders to obtain a lengthy sentence of incarceration. Gentry’s actions as a merchant of death took place in multiple counties and impacted indigenous tribal communities that the fentanyl epidemic has disproportionately impacted.

Paul Ostrow, Anoka County Criminal Prosecutor

High-level traffickers of fentanyl must be apprehended and locked up, plain and simple. Their crimes are motivated by greed, not addiction. By his own admission, Thomas Gentry was selling fentanyl to support a lifestyle and to raise money to buy a house. We will never know how many lives were lost due to the pills he sold, nor can we say with certainty how many lives were saved by putting him out of business. Accountability and deterrence must be a part of our mission.

I have worked closely with the Anoka Hennepin Drug Task Force for over a dozen years. Their detectives, representing members of police departments throughout the north metro, serve with passion and dedication.  On December 15, I will retire from the Anoka County Attorney’s Office. Our mission at Fentanyl Free Communities must include robust support for the tools needed by law enforcement and prosecutors throughout the state of Minnesota to hold these merchants of death accountable. Our job must be to put them out of business once and for all.

Paul Ostrow is an Anoka County criminal prosecutor and board member of the Fentanyl Free Communities Foundation.

For more information or to read the full story, please visit Minneapolis Star Tribune: Term topping 12 years for St. Cloud man who held ‘high position in the drug distribution hierarchy’.

The Fentanyl Free Communities Foundation highlights content related to the Fentanyl crisis. We are sharing these stories as part of our educational efforts. We are committed to raising awareness and positively impacting the fight against fentanyl poisoning in our communities.

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