WILMINGTON, Del. – David C. Weiss, U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that a Wilmington, Delaware man was sentenced yesterday to 188 months in federal prison for possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl while also illegally possessing 5 firearms. Chief U.S. District Judge Colm F. Connolly pronounced the sentence.
According to court documents, Joseph Thomas, age 29, was arrested on April 30, 2020, by state and federal law enforcement. Searches of Thomas’ home, car detailing business, T.L.K. Auto Spa, and a storage unit Thomas controlled yielded a fentanyl pill operation, instructions for making fake prescription pills with fentanyl, a commercial pill press, 5 firearms, and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition. One of the guns Thomas possessed had been reported stolen. The serial number on another of those guns was obliterated, making it difficult to trace. Law enforcement also found over $86,000 in cash inside a safe belonging to Thomas.
U.S. Attorney Weiss commented, “Selling deadly fentanyl in pill form designed to mimic the appearance of the legitimate prescription drug oxycodone endangers lives. The illegal possession of firearms and ammunition endangers lives. My office will seek significant prison sentences for those who engage in this activity and thereby threaten the safety of our community.”
“The defendant in this case showed little regard for the safety of his consumers as he willingly manufactured and sold fake prescription drugs laced with fentanyl,” said William S. Walker, Acting Special Agent in Charge of HSI Philadelphia. “Each time highly addictive narcotics, like fentanyl, are pressed into pills, narcotics traffickers ensure repeat customers and higher profits. Beyond that, Thomas illegally possessed five guns and a thousand rounds of ammunition, again, showing little regard for the safety of his community. This sentencing should serve as a reminder to those seeking to line their pockets through others’ addictions. You will be arrested, you will be prosecuted, and you will be incarcerated for your criminal acts.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander P. Ibrahim prosecuted the case, which was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Newport Police Department. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also wishes to thank the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives and the FBI for their assistance.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to helping those who suffer from substance abuse. While COVID-19 has made access to drug addiction treatment more difficult for many, it need not remain a barrier. If you need help, drug treatment information is available any time through the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Treatment Referral Routing Service, found online at dpt2.samhsa.gov/treatment/ or by dialing 1.888.545.2600. Don’t let the pandemic stop you from beginning treatment.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the District of Delaware or on PACER.