News and Press Releases

Birmingham Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Selling Heroin that Caused a Death

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2014

BIRMINGHAM -- A federal judge today sentenced a Birmingham man to 20 years in prison for selling heroin that caused the 2013 death of a Northport man, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Special Agent in Charge Clay A. Morris.

HAROLD DONNELL MIMS, 31, pleaded guilty in February to selling heroin that resulted in the death of the 28-year-old man at a Tuscaloosa apartment complex. The charge carries a mandatory minimum 20-year sentence.

"Heroin is a deadly drug, and, as today's sentence illustrates, if you sell heroin that causes someone to overdose and die, you can be prosecuted and spend at least 20 years in prison," Vance said.

"Fighting the spread of heroin use and overdose deaths requires a community-wide commitment," Vance said. "On June 10, leaders in the medical, law enforcement and education communities will present a summit in Birmingham on the wide-ranging heroin problem so that the community can begin formulating a plan of action. We look forward to being part of that work," she said.

"Today’s sentence should send a clear message to the drug traffickers who sell poison to our children," Morris said. "That message is that law enforcement will tirelessly work to investigate those who sell any amount of heroin. The use, abuse and distribution of heroin is rising at alarming rates, and, unfortunately, so is the overdose death rate," he said. "The investigation and prosecution of heroin traffickers is one of many important steps in eliminating heroin from our communities."

Authorities arrested Mims during a roundup of heroin dealers in north Alabama in September. The roundup was part of an initiative launched in 2012 by the U.S. Attorney's Office, the DEA, district attorneys, and many federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to attack the supply of heroin in the Northern District of Alabama.

Mims' sold heroin to a confidential police source and to undercover officers in 2012 and 2013, and police were monitoring his actions when he sold heroin on Feb. 21, 2013, to the Northport man who ingested it and died later that night in Tuscaloosa, according to his plea agreement.

Mims was one of 49 people who had been indicted on drug distribution charges over the first several months of 2013 and were targeted for arrest in the September sweep. Of the 49 defendants, 39 have pled guilty and one was convicted at trial. One defendant remained a fugitive until April, when he was arrested in Atlanta.

The heroin community action summit, "Pills to Needles: The Pathway to Rising Heroin Deaths," will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., June 10, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham National Alumni Society House, 1301 1st Ave. South. A registration form is available through the following link: http://go.usa.gov/8BGj.

The DEA investigated the cases in conjunction with many state and local agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorney L. James Weil Jr. is prosecuting the cases.

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