Andrea Branco was sentenced recently to ten years in the Colorado Department of Corrections for selling the fentanyl that killed Kara Gorman on September 1, 2022. The 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office secured Branco’s guilty plea to Fentanyl Distribution Causing Death, a Class 1 Drug Felony, on August 8th, 2023, and she faced open sentencing with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and Larimer County law enforcement agencies have put unprecedented resources into fentanyl homicide investigations and the innovative local collaboration has succeeded in finding justice for victims like Kara Gorman and her family. The Larimer County model of inter-agency collaboration has become a model around the state to target dealers killing members of our communities.
The District Attorney’s Office extends our appreciation to the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force (NCDTF), Fort Collins Police Services, and the Larimer County Coroner’s Office for their roles in the investigation.
“I am incredibly proud of the collaboration we’ve had in Larimer County that has allowed us to achieve this first-of-its-kind result,” said 8th Judicial District Attorney Gordon P. McLaughlin. “Today’s sentence marks a turning point in our ability to hold those committing murder with fentanyl accountable and proves these laws are a successful piece of combating the fentanyl epidemic.”
Ms. Gorman’s mother and stepfather spoke at the sentencing hearing and expressed the enormous impact on their family. “She will forever be missed,” Ms. Gorman’s stepfather told the Court. They hope her story may save another life.
The 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office prosecution team, led by Complex Case Prosecutor Lynzi Maas, presented evidence to the Court showing Branco was distributing illegal drugs to multiple users and specifically began a conversation with Ms. Gorman to entice her to purchase drugs, ultimately selling her four fentanyl pills and providing the means to use them. Ms. Gorman’s “family is deserving of a sentence that reflects… [Branco’s] reckless disregard for life and the depth of the harm she caused in the community,” said Deputy Maas in her argument for a maximum sentence.
“I worked last year at the Capitol to pass this law to ensure we had the tools to find justice for victims,” DA McLaughlin said. “When it comes to users of fentanyl, we remain committed to prioritizing behavioral health resources and treatment, but this new law allows us to hold the worst actors accountable and find some sense of justice for the victims. My deepest condolences go out to Ms. Gorman’s family and friends.”
Fort Collins Police Services Chief, Jeff Swoboda, whose agency led the investigation in coordination with the NCDTF said, “My thoughts are with Kara’s family. I also want to thank the investigators and the DA’s Office that worked to get us to today’s sentencing.”
NCDTF Commander, Lieutenant Mark Hertz, added, “The Northern Colorado Drug Task Force is committed to fighting the Fentanyl crisis not only in Larimer County, but the state of Colorado and beyond. We appreciate the high level of investigative efforts that local law enforcement agencies and the 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office bring to the table during every Fentanyl related overdose death.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, help is available:
SummitStone Health Partners – 970-494-4200
Colorado Opioid Synergy Larimer & Weld (CO-SLAW) – 1-844-944-7529
SAMHSA National Helpline – 1-800-487-4889
Connect Effect Colorado – www.connecteffectco.org/parents