Dealer who sold lethal nar­cotics sen­tenced for man­slaugh­ter

Man over­dosed and died from Fen­tanyl in 2015

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AN­DREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­

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.”

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