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News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2007

Detroit Man Sentenced To 30 Years In Fentanyl-Laced Heroin Deaths

FEB 22 -- James Edgar Coleman, 36, of Detroit, was sentenced today to 30 years in prison as a result of his guilty plea to a superseding information charging him with two counts of delivering a controlled substance resulting in death, United States Attorney Stephen J. Murphy announced today.

Murphy was joined in the announcement by Robert Corso , Special Agent in Charge of the DEA, Detroit, as well as Oakland County Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard. Coleman received the sentence from United States District Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff, in U.S. District Court in Port Huron, Michigan. The judge sentenced Coleman to the maximum statutory penalty.

At the time of his plea, Coleman admitted to the Court that he had sold heroin mixed with fentanyl from a home on Keating St. in the City of Detroit. Coleman stated that the controlled substance that he sold had been acquired by two individuals, who ingested the drug and died as a result. Coleman’s guilty plea was the first to specifically address the spate of deaths from overdoses of heroin laced with fentanyl, which occurred earlier this year in Detroit and other urban areas throughout the United States.

United States Attorney Stephen J. Murphy said, "All illegal drugs are dangerous. In this case the danger was so great it caused the immediate deaths of two people in our community. This significant sentence is the result of a robust federal response to the rash of overdose deaths caused by fentanyl-laced heroin, and would not have been successful without the excellent investigative work by the DEA and the Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team."

SAC Corso said, “This investigation exemplifies the outstanding results that can be achieved by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies working together and combining their respective resources. Today’s sentencing reflects a “substantial sentence for a substantial violator”. This sentence should serve as a message to drug vendors throughout the metro Detroit area– deal at your own peril. If we can establish that your drugs caused someone’s death, you will pay a severe and certain penalty for that activity.”

The investigation of this case has been conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team, and by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn McCarthy.

 

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