Cameran Weiss was the type of kid that everyone liked. He was compassionate, caring, and good-natured. As he grew, he became the type of young man who would buy food for a homeless man he saw on the street.
Singular as he was, however, Cameran was like everyone else in many ways. He felt pain, just like the rest of us, and it was in seeking some small relief from that pain that 18-year-old Cameran’s life turned upside down…
To say that Cameron Weiss loved sports would be an understatement. From the time he was five years old he played in every organized sport available in Albuquerque. He played soccer, basketball, football, and wrestling. He hiked in the mountains, went skiing, and snowboarding. So you could say the kid was in pretty good shape.
Yet, just cause Cameran was in good shape didn’t mean that he was at peak performance. He knew, athletically talented as he was, that he still had more to learn. So he competed at the highest level on the wrestling and football teams at La Cueva High. He practiced and perfected, challenging himself every step of the way, even academically…
Cameran was a model student, an accomplished athlete, and a fierce friend. He worried about everyone else, carrying the burdens of others even when he didn’t need to. What he didn’t know, however, was that he was about to have his own problems for the first time in his young life; problems that would challenge him in new ways.
It was 2010 and Cameran was in his sophomore year. As expected, he was already scouting out colleges when disaster struck for the first time. He was making a routine tackle during football practice when he broke his left collarbone. The injury was severe enough that it required surgery and benched him for the rest of the season…
Despite being stuck on the bench, Cameran did manage to push past his impatience and take the time necessary to heal the injury; or so he thought. A few months later, just when he had been given the go-ahead to join wrestling again, he fractured his right collarbone during a match. Now he had two damaged collarbones.
The injuries were painful and severe so Cameran’s doctor prescribed him some pretty strong pain medication. He was put on Percocet and hydrocodone, both narcotics and opioids. This made them highly addictive substances and meant that administering them had to be treated carefully. Unfortunately for Cameran, it wasn’t…
In time, Cameran succumbed to the numbing high of the drugs just as quickly as everyone else. He became so addicted to the sensation that soon he was ditching classes. All the AP classes he had been working hard on, all the practices and games he had loved since he was a boy, all of it fell to the wayside in favor of the opioids.
Cameran’s mother, Jennifer Weiss-Burke, didn’t know what was happening at first, but once she put two-and-two together, she learned the truth. Almost overnight, Cameran had become a completely different person. He eventually confessed to her that he was addicted to heroin, which was a cheaper, easier alternative to the prescription pills he’d long-since run out of…
Jennifer wanted to help her son. She knew that if Cameran could just be weened off the heroin, she could get him clean. She looked for doctors who could prescribe buprenorphine, a component of Suboxone, but it took phonecalls to 80 different physicians before she could find one able to prescribe it to her son.
It was on their way to that appointment, that Cameran first exhibited the worse signs of withdrawal. He was sweating, angry, vomiting, and in an immense amount of pain. They got the prescription, which helped Cameran to feel normal for a while, but things didn’t really improve from there, they only got worse…
Suboxone became Cameran’s world. It wasn’t that he was using it to get high, he was using it to stay normal. Any lapse in his self-regulated dosing would find him cantankerous, sickly, and in pain. He was normal again, but it didn’t last long. Pretty soon even the Suboxone wasn’t enough to maintain his normality.
Sobriety was fleeting. Cameran began using heroin again. It wasn’t hard for him to get it though. New Mexico had been dealing with the same rampant opioid epidemic as the rest of the country. Jennifer was now helpless to watch as her son plummeted even further into his own living Hell. Sadly, he was about to reach the bottom…
Cameran wasn’t the only New Mexican athlete to suffer from this addiction, however. A young man named Roman Montano, a former baseball player also suffered a small debilitating injury in high school. His broken foot bone needed minor surgery and afforded him a prescription for OxyContin. Within a few months, he was going to pill parties, skipping practice, and losing himself.
No More Baseball
After that, Roman’s parents caught him using, took him to an addiction center, and tried to get him clean. Unfortunately, it was too little too late. He was clean for five minutes before he was scoring heroin. They found Roman slumped behind the wheel of his car in a FedEx parking lot. He was 22 years old when he overdosed. Cameran Weiss was younger…
On August 13, 2011, Cameran Weiss died from a heroin overdose. He was 18 years old. The evening before he died, he and a friend had apparently used heroin with a local man named Joseph Dyson, another addict and a former convict. Cameran was found the next day and his fellow users were arrested.
Eventually, Dyson let the police to a man named Raymond Moya. The 34-year-old had been Dyson’s supplier for some time and it was he that Cameran and Dyson had bought heroin from on the night before the 18-year-old’s death. As far as the Albuquerque police were concerned, that meant that Moya was responsible for Cameran’s death….
Not a User
When it went to court, Attorney Amy Sirignano, attorney Jerry Daniel Herrera, and paralegal Cynthia Gilbert, all worked together to represent Moya. They attest that he wasn’t a supplier at all, but a recovering heroin addict who had a few grams on him when he chose to sell the stuff to Dyson and Weiss.
The First of its Crime
They argue further that the government should be out there looking for more dangerous drug dealers and leave small fish like Moya alone. Regardless of how big or small the situation was, however, the jury believed that Raymond Moya was guilty of distributing heroin which resulted in death; which made him the first person convicted of that crime in New Mexico…
Life in Prison
It only took the jury two hours to come to that decision and come sentencing, Moya may face a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment for the crime. This sentence is likely to be enhanced because of four prior felony convictions on Moya’s record. Sadly, even though justice was done, the opioid epidemic shows no signs of stopping.
Kyle Williamson, who works for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s El Paso Division, spoke about how hard New Mexico, in particular, has been hit by the epidemic and what they are planning to do about it. “Drug dealers who fuel this epidemic must be held accountable for their actions, which — all too often — have lethal consequences. DEA will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to bring to justice those who prey on our communities and to do our part to reduce overdose deaths.”