Robert Eichelberger Pleads Guilty to Selling Drugs to a High School Student Resulting in His Death

September 29, 2008

Baltimore, Maryland - Robert Carroll Eichelberger, age 37, of Hagerstown, formerly of Boonsboro, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, resulting in the death of a juvenile, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.

“Drug dealers should be on notice that they can be held accountable if anyone dies after taking the drugs that they distribute,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.

According to the statement of facts, beginning in 2006, Robert Carroll Eichelberger and Kathleen Ann Harris began illegally selling prescription drugs including methadone and various brands of oxycodone and hydrocodone. The defendants were able to obtain the drugs because Harris had medical problems that allowed her to get legitimate prescriptions from physicians, who were unaware that she intended to re-sell the drugs with Eichelberger. Among the customers of Harris and Eichelberger was a high school student in western Maryland.

For several months prior to July 2007, Eichelberger and Harris sold methadone, oxycodone, and hydrocodone to the high school student, including on several occasions when his friends were present. Both Eichelberger and Harris were aware that the student would sell some of the drugs he obtained from them to his classmates, friends and associates. The student also used the drugs that he bought from the defendants, including methadone. On both July 23, 2007, and July 24, 2007, the student used some of the methadone he obtained from Harris and Eichelberger.

On July 25, 2007, Eichelberger and Harris went to the student’s residence where they sold him methadone and all three consumed alcohol. The student died in bed late that night or sometime the following morning. An autopsy found that the student died of methadone and alcohol intoxication. The methadone which the defendants sold to the student on July 25, 2007 was a substantial cause of his death.

U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz scheduled Eichelberger’s sentencing for December 4, 2008 at 9:00 a.m. Kathleen Ann Harris, age 39, of Olney, Maryland, also formerly of Boonsboro, previously pleaded guilty to the same charge, but no date has been set for her sentencing.

Both defendants face a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and maximum sentence of life in prison.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Maryland State Police, the Washington County Narcotics Task Force and Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore and his office for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys P. Michael Cunningham and Robert Harding, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Teelucksingh, who are prosecuting the case.


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