Dealer who sold lethal narcotics sentenced for manslaughter
Man overdosed and died from Fentanyl in 2015
A Waldorf woman, who sold a fatal dosage of narcotics to a man in October 2015, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced in Charles County Circuit Court on Wednesday.
Samantha Nicole Thomas, 34, was sentenced to the maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, having sold Christopher Wade, 35, of Mechanicsville a lethal dose of Fentanyl, which she had told him was heroin, according to the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Wade was found on Oct. 31, 2015, about three hours after Thomas sold him the narcotics, lying unresponsive on a bathroom floor inside a Waldorf residence located in the 2700 block of Sprague Drive. Emergency services personnel were unable to revive him, and officers found evidence of heroin use near his body.
Thomas later told investigators that she regularly bought narcotics from Baltimore to resell, and that she had been aware that what she
was selling may have not been heroin, according to a news release from the state’s attorney’s office. An autopsy revealed Wade’s death had been caused by Fentanyl.
Fentanyl, an extremely potent opioid, can be up to 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin, according to the National Institutes of Health. The Drug Enforcement
Agency issued a nationwide alert in March 2015, warning that Fentanyl has been linked to an epidemic of fatal overdoses across the country, and is being mixed with heroin to increase potency, often without a user’s knowledge. While the Schedule II narcotic can be legally prescribed by a doctor for chronic pain management, Fentanyl is also being manufactured in clandestine drug labs.
“This county, like the rest of the country, is in crisis regarding opioid abuse,” Assistant State’s Attorney John A. Stackhouse said in court Wednesday. “There
are overdoses ever y single day in Charles County. And with all those overdoses, unfortunately, more than a few are fatal. This plea and sentence hopefully sends the message to the community and makes a difference for at least one person.”
State’s Attorney Anthony Covington (D) told the Maryland Independent that he believes this to be the first time a narcotics dealer has ever been convicted of manslaughter for a death caused by drugs in Charles County, adding that he is not aware of any other case.
“I hope drug dealers — especially
those pushing the unbelievably addictive and deadly opioids like Fentanyl and heroin — understand that we are going to hold them accountable not only for dealing drugs, but also for the deaths we can link to their dealing,” he said in a statement. “Lives are being lost, families ruined because in part these dealers want to make an easy buck off someone else’s misery. That’s not right. So I am giving dealers fair warning. If we have the evidence, we are coming for them relentlessly and without mercy.”