A Gambrills based man charged with the distribution of fentanyl was sentenced to a four year and eight month jail term last Friday.
25-year-old Robert Luke Simpson will spend a total of 57 months in jail and an additional “3 years of supervised release”. U.S. District Court Judge George L. Russell III sentenced Simpson for possession of fentanyl and further for having the intent to distribute it.
During the trial, court officials stated that as little as 2 milligrams of the drug can cause death. It has been reported that the substance is mostly to blame for the increase in drug-related deaths.
During a warranted search of his apartment, 6,200 pills of fentanyl translating to about 369 grams were recovered. The pills were hidden in a shelf fixed on the wall and in other shelfs on a desk. Also recovered in the search was $8,578 cash in addition to cellphones, computers, and IPads as well as bitcoin mining equipment.
By his own admission, Simpson told the court that he had bought a total of 10,000 fentanyl pills purchased with bitcoins worth over $10,000. The drugs were delivered to him via U.S. mailing systems and were later sold to his Maryland based customers for between $5 and $10 per pill.
According to Simpson’s plea agreement, he sold approximately 1.2 kgs of the lethal drug.
U.S. Attorney Robert Kittur, in a statement, spelled out that those trafficking the fatal drug, fentanyl, were increasing their chances of facing federal prosecution. He further warned of the crackdown, which has brought together local, federal and state officers, to the dark web-based dealers who then sell the drugs to U.S. citizens.
In his sentence, presiding Judge Russell also directed that Simpson forfeit all monies and property that may have been obtained from proceeds of his criminal activities, as well as property used to aid his crimes. This includes all items seized during the search of his apartment.
In a different but related case, a father and his son were each sentenced to serve five years in prison. Michael Luciano and his son, Philip, sold fentanyl and Oxycodone on Alphabay, a dark web based drug market that has since been shut down.
The court was informed that the duo’s activities resulted in a “non-fatal drug overdose in 2005.” Manhattan-based U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Bennan told the court that the two had continued to sell the deadly drug, even after the incidence.
Another 33-year-old man was sentenced to “312 months in federal prison for trafficking acetyl fentanyl.” The Riverside-based criminal pleaded guilty in November 2017 and therefore faced 20 years behind bars as a ‘mandatory sentence’ since his activities resulted in several deaths.
U.S. District Judge John Kronstadt, while sentencing Adam Scott Caward, must have considered prosecution’s input that there were overdose cases connected to Caward hence the addition of six more years to the sentence.
Despite a promise made by U.S. Postal Inspection Service Inspector Joseph Cronin based in Boston that the department is working round the clock to rid the U.S. mailing system of criminal activities, dark web based drug traffickers have continued to use the mailing services to conduct their operations.
Deaths emanating from fentanyl are reported to be on the rise in the U.S.A. as well as in the U.K. based on a study founded by U.K. based Professor Adam Winstock. The study found that 128 fentanyl overdose related cases were reported between December 2016 and May 2018. Again, the dark web was found culpable of being used in the distribution of the drugs that brought about the deaths.
Through the cooperation of all stakeholders, this imminent danger of drug overdose-related cases can be contained if not stopped. Fentanyl is no average street drug, and the rise in its use adds to the pile of unnecessary deaths.