News Release]
April 30, 2010
Contact: Melissa Bell,
Number: 202-616-4740

Pair Indicted for Distributing Deadly Fentanyl
Case Illustrates the Danger of Prescription Drug Abuse

APR 30 -- ROANOKE, VIRGINIA – Two Floyd County, Virginia residents have been indicted by a Federal Grand Jury sitting in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia on charges related to an overdose death caused by fentanyl the two are accused of distributing.

In an indictment returned underseal on March 18, 2010 and unsealed today in U.S. District Court, the grand jury has charged Seth Linkus Thomas, 29 and Aaron Granville Thompson, 41, with multiple drug related charges.

Each defendant has been charged with one count of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute or distributing a measurable amount of fentanyl, the use of which resulted in death or serious bodily injury of another, one count of distributing fentanyl, the use of which resulted in serious bodily injury and one count of distributing fentanyl, the use of which resulted in the death of another. In addition, Thomas was charged with one count of distributing morphine.

“Unfortunately too many people think prescription drugs are “safe” because they are prescribed by doctors. But, when abused, prescription drugs can be as dangerous as any illicit drug. Sadly, this case illustrates just how dangerous they can be.” stated Ava Cooper-Davis, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“The rate of overdose deaths in our country is rapidly increasing and has become a public health problem, not just a public safety problem,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “While it is imperative to bring charges against individuals who cause harm or death to others through their drug trafficking activities, we must also look at the bigger picture and begin exploring drug treatment programs to educate people about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.”

According to the indictment, on or about November 28, 2007, the defendants distributed fentanyl, which resulted in seriously bodily injury of another person. In a separate incident on or about November 28, 2007, the defendants distributed fentanyl, which resulted in the death of another person.

If convicted, the maximum penalty faced by each defendant for each of the three fentanyl counts is 0-20 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $2,000,000, on each count. In addition, Thomas faces a maximum penalty of 0-20 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $1,000,000 on the morphine count.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, the Christiansburg Police Department and the Floyd County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States A grand jury indictment is only a charge and all defendants are presumed innocent until, and if, they are proven guilty.

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