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Las Vegas man sentenced for dealing opioids sought Hello Kitty die, prosecutors say

Updated March 18, 2024 - 7:55 pm

A Las Vegas man who once fatally shot an armed robber was sentenced to eight years in prison for distributing opioid painkillers across the U.S., federal prosecutors announced Monday.

Christopher S. Housley, 51, was sentenced Friday in Las Vegas federal court after he pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance (tapentadol) and 20 money laundering charges, according to prosecutors and court records.

“In total, law enforcement seized nearly 300,000 tapentadol pills weighing more than 300 pounds,” the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Nevada said in a news release. Tapendatol is an opioid.

Prosecutors also said Housley and a co-conspirator “obtained a large industrial pill press” in July 2021 and that in October 2021 Housley “sought to obtain a Hello Kitty die used to press pills with that logo.”

Search warrant reveals drug storage

Housley laundered the drug sale money using shell companies, prosecutors said.

In May 2022, law enforcement executed a search warrant at a storage unit rented by Housley using a fake name, prosecutors said. The storage unit contained tapentadol, alprazolam, also known by the brand name Xanax, and other controlled substances.

According to court records, Housley had been facing a maximum potential sentence of 420 years in federal prison in connection with all the charges to which he had pleaded guilty.

In a separate incident years before his current legal ordeal, Housley shot armed robber Douglas Shaughnessy, 30, on Jan. 13, 2011, outside a southwest Las Vegas bar where Housley had been working as a bartender, Housley’s attorney, Jess Marchese, confirmed.

“That was him,” Marchese said.

According to Review-Journal archives, the Metropolitan Police Department said that Housley followed Shaughnessy out of The Lodge at 5790 S. Fort Apache Road to record Shaughnessy’s license plate after a masked and pistol-wielding Shaughnessy had demanded money and left with $337.

Housley, who had a concealed weapons permit, drew his handgun and told Shaughnessy to “drop it.” Shaughnessy froze but raised his arm, resulting in Housley fearing he would be killed, Housley told police. Metro police said video surveillance confirmed Housley’s version of events.

Housley, who fired multiple shots, hitting Shaughnessy four times, was not charged in that incident.

“I’m stupid, I robbed the place and got shot,” a wounded Shaughnessy told a responding officer, the Review-Journal reported, citing an arrest report.

Shaughnessy died six days later, on Jan. 18.

‘A fair sentence’

Housley’s sentence in the opioid case, handed down by U.S. District Judge Andrew P. Gordon, also includes three years of supervised release after he serves his prison term.

“I think it was a fair sentence,” Marchese said Monday. “I thought that Judge Gordon took all the factors into account.”

Marchese pointed out that Housley has always worked, didn’t have a criminal history, and is currently raising his own biological son as a single dad while also being instrumental in a non-biological son’s life.

The Las Vegas-based attorney said he didn’t anticipate filing an appeal and said that Housley, who has been ordered to surrender to federal custody by noon on June 14, wants to get this chapter of his life over with.

“He wants to move on,” Marchese said.

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com.

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