A 22-year-old Florida man has been charged with distributing fentanyl resulting in death. A Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office representative said that the man is the first county resident federally indicted for this crime. He is alleged to have sold the drugs that caused a man to overdose fatally in May 2017. Reports indicate that the man is being held without bond and faces a mandatory life sentence in a federal prison.
HCSO detectives attached to the office’s Heroin Working Group were assisted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office during the investigation. After paramedics were unable to revive a Tampa-area overdose victim with Narcan, detectives determined that the drugs involved had been purchased from the accused man. Reports suggest that the man told the overdose victim that he was buying heroin, but an autopsy is later said to have revealed that fentanyl had killed him.
A 27-year-old man and a 33-year-old man were also taken into custody on drug charges during the investigation. The 33-year-old man has been linked to seven opioid deaths and faces life in prison if convicted. The 27-year-old man faces up to 30 years in a federal prison after pleading guilty to drug distribution charges according to reports.
Cases such as this one often hinge on the admissibility of drugs discovered during police searches and the reliability of accomplice testimony. Experienced criminal defense attorneys may encourage their clients to enter into negotiated plea agreements when the evidence against them is overwhelming, but attorneys might advocate on their clients’ behalf in court when they assert their innocence or prosecutors are inflexible. Seized drugs may be ruled inadmissible if police officers violated protections guaranteed by law.
Source: The Bradenton Herald, Landmark charges come down for Florida drug dealer in fentanyl death, Samantha Putterman, June 11, 2018