Crime

Investigators eyeing Bordner in more fentanyl deaths, official says

ROCKLIN, Calif. — A 22-year-old man who, prosecutors say, sold the counterfeit pills pressed with fentanyl that killed a 17-year-old Rocklin student is being eyed by investigators as a possible suspect in several other local fentanyl deaths, The Update has learned

 An official with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office unveiled the presence of the investigation into Virgil Xavier Bordner during a phone call with The Update. The official said the probe was wide-ranging, in a very early stage, and wouldn’t disclose which specific deaths Bordner could be tied to.

 According to CDPH data reviewed by The Update, fentanyl deaths are spiking in Placer County. Forty-five people have died in the past two years compared to just three in 2019. Those deaths include Didier and 21-year-old Ian Walsh, who died of an overdose after taking a fake pill in August of 2020.

 “I always imagined that an overdose would be quite graphic, but it wasn’t,” Walsh’s mother said in a video released by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. “It was just really loud snoring. I was watching my son die.”

 According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Overdoses can cause breathing to slow or stop, decreasing oxygen flow to the brain and eventually resulting in hypoxia – a condition that can lead to severe brain damage and death.

 Some users who build up a dependency on opioids are able to take fentanyl regularly and develop an addiction, but an overwhelming number of deaths associated with the drug in the Sacramento area are accidental overdoses on fake pills.

 Bordner has been held in the South Placer County Jail after being transferred from the Sacramento County Main Jail following his arrest in the death of Zachary Didier, who passed away last December.

 Didier’s parents have said they found him unresponsive in his room on the 27th, just days after Bordner allegedly sold him several counterfeit Percocet pills that were pressed with fentanyl. Officials say they were led to Bordner following an analysis of Didier’s Snapchat messages with the man.

 Online court records show he has pleaded not guilty and will attend a preliminary hearing in February, where prosecutors will present evidence in an effort to establish probable cause to move forward with prosecution. His attorney didn’t return requests for comment.

 In his freshman year of high school, Bordner played as a reserve running back for C.K. McClatchy’s JV football team. Despite his presence on the roster, he never saw minutes in a game, according to his MaxPreps profile. Several former teammates of Bordner’s did not return requests for comment. His old head coach couldn’t be reached.

 Bordner also has a criminal record out of Sacramento County. Records show he pleaded no contest in October of 2020 to carrying a loaded firearm in public. In April of this year, he pleaded no contest to one count of possessing a controlled substance while armed. He’s been sentenced to 2 years in state prison for that offense and will return to custody there after the matter in Placer County is wrapped up. The earliest he can be paroled in that case is April of 2022.

 If Bordner beats the charges in Roseville, he’s not out of the woods yet. The possibility of federal fentanyl distribution charges, pursued often by DOJ officials in Sacramento, loom on the horizon. A spokesperson for the US Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the presence of any possible investigation. No charges or warrants against Bordner have been filed in the public record.

Ethan Biando
Ethan Biando is a freelance journalist from Sacramento. His writing focuses on crime, courts, and policing. Find him on Twitter @ethanb822

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