Southern Maryland Drug Dealer Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Selling Heroin to a Customer Whose Ingestion of the Drug Resulted in His Death
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced Patrick Fitzgerald Sweeney, age 46, of Owings, Maryland, today to 20 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for possession with intent to distribute heroin, distribution of heroin resulting in death and three counts of use of a phone to distribute heroin.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division; and Calvert County Sheriff Mike Evans.
According to evidence presented at his five day trial, on March 23, 2009, Harrison Waite was found non-responsive in his home and transported to a hospital, where he was declared dead. An autopsy determined the cause of death to be heroin intoxication.
Waite’s girlfriend testified that earlier on March 23, she was with Waite when he obtained a pill bottle from Sweeney. Waite told her that he was buying pills for his co-worker. The co-worker later testified at trial that he and Waite had repeatedly obtained heroin from Sweeney for their personal use, and that on March 23, 2009, Waite was to obtain heroin from Sweeney for Waite and the co-worker to share.
Waite’s girlfriend further testified that on the evening of March 23 and after Waite obtained the pills from Sweeney, they went to Waite’s home. Waite rubbed some cocaine on his gums. After they watched a movie, the girlfriend left for a few minutes. In her absence, Waite ingested some of the heroin he had received from Sweeney. When she returned, Waite was asleep, face down on the bed. The girlfriend fell asleep and awoke about an hour later. She noticed that Waite had not moved. When she got up, the movement caused Waite to roll over. Waite was blue and vomit was coming out of him. A search of Waite’s bedroom resulted in the recovery of some syringes, a spoon with heroin residue, and the pill bottle which contained heroin.
Waite’s co-worker also testified at trial that Sweeney told him shortly after midnight on the evening of Waite’s death that Waite had overdosed.
At trial, the government presented medical testimony that Waite’s prior cocaine use did not contribute to the cause of death, and that the cause of Waite’s death was heroin intoxication.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the DEA and Calvert County Sheriff’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Deborah A. Johnston and Arun G. Rao, who prosecuted the case.