A Clearwater man is facing up to life in prison if convicted of a federal drug charge that has never before been pursued in the Tampa area.
Federal prosecutors say the 23-year-old transient man is responsible for supplying a 46-year-old man with the heroin on which he later used to fatally overdose while with his own girlfriend in 2017.
The defendant, who is being charged with a single count of distribution of drugs resulting in death, is not only on trial for his own actions, but, according to prosecutors, is meant to be an example to others and, they hope, a deterrent to illicit drug dealers throughout the area.
According to federal prosecutors, the defendant supplied the victim a quantity of heroin diluted and boosted with fentanyl, a common painkiller that is significantly more potent.
However, the defendant’s defense team notes that their counterparts must prove that their client was the supplier of the fatal dose, which is heavily reliant upon the testimony of the victim’s girlfriend. As a result, her credibility is at the crux of the government’s case.
The government says the trio lived in a local homeless housing complex. Both the victim and his girlfriend were drug addicts, per the prosecution, and they became adept at dosing each other in order to feed their respective addictions. The girlfriend said she gave the defendant a government benefits card in exchange for a quantity of several different illicit drugs, one of which was the heroin/fentanyl mix that prosecutors say proved to be fatal.
If convicted, the defendant could be sentenced to life in federal prison without parole.
The Law Offices of Bjorn Brunvand have been representing people charged with capital murder, felony drug charges, drunk driving, government fraud, and white-collar crimes for over a quarter century. Contact our office today to discuss your Tampa Bay-area state or federal charges.