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Press Release

Jury Convicts Little Rock Man for Distributing Fentanyl That Resulted in Death

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Arkansas
Defendant Also Found Guilty of Firearm Offenses

      LITTLE ROCK—A federal jury convicted a Little Rock man who distributed the fentanyl that resulted in a person’s overdose death in early 2021. Following a three-day trial and after one hour of deliberation, the jury convicted Jemel Foster, 32, of four federal drug and firearm crimes, including distribution of fentanyl that resulted in death.

      Foster was also convicted of possessing fentanyl with intent to distribute it, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.

      The jury returned the verdict Wednesday evening to United States District Court Judge Billy Roy Wilson. Judge Wilson will sentence Foster, who remains in federal custody, at a later date. The statutory minimum sentence for the distribution of fentanyl resulting in death is 20 years, plus an additional minimum of five years for possessing the firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.

      “Drug crime is violent crime. We are very pleased with this verdict that demonstrates the importance of holding drug dealers accountable for the harm they inflict upon others,” stated United States Attorney Jonathan D. Ross. “The senseless death of a young woman is a tragic example of just how violent drug crimes can be, and the defendant who sold her the fentanyl that took her life will now be held accountable for his actions. Thank you to our law enforcement partners who have helped achieve justice in this case.”

      On July 6, 2021, a grand jury charged Foster in a superseding indictment with the four counts he took to trial, all of which related to two January evenings in 2021.

      The evidence at trial revealed that on the evening of January 11, 2021, a woman purchased fentanyl from Foster around 7:22 p.m. in the parking lot of a Little Rock Walgreen’s store. According to testimony from the medical examiner who conducted her autopsy, the woman died from a fatal dose of fentanyl around midnight that evening at her mother’s nearby home. After discovering her body the next morning, the woman’s family contacted the Little Rock Police Department, and eventually the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). At trial, the DEA agents involved in the case explained how they were able to identify Foster as the source of the fatal fentanyl from data in the victim’s phone.

      The DEA, believing Foster would not be aware the woman had died, used the victim’s phone to contact Foster on January 12, 2021, and ask if he had any more fentanyl for sale. Foster agreed to meet at the same Walgreen’s parking lot the person he believed would be the woman who purchased fentanyl from him the night before. When Foster arrived at the parking lot, the DEA arrested him and located eight bags of fentanyl in his pants, totaling approximately four grams, and a firearm in his vehicle.

      At trial, the medical examiner testified that there is no safe dosage of illicit fentanyl, and tiny amounts of the substance can kill a person nearly immediately. The medical examiner also located two bags of fentanyl in the victim’s clothing that exactly matched the eight bags of fentanyl Foster had in his pants on January 12. 

      “Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous opioid that has led to numerous overdose deaths across the country, including here in our state,” DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jarad Harper said. “The DEA, along with our local, state, and federal partners have been, and will continue to aggressively investigate and arrest those individuals who profit from the pain and suffering of others. This conviction demonstrates law enforcement’s devotion to working collaboratively and aggressively to combat drug trafficking.”

      The statutory penalties for Foster’s convictions are: distribution of fentanyl resulting in death, 20 years to life imprisonment; possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute, up to 20 years’ imprisonment; felon in possession of a firearm, up to 10 years’ imprisonment; and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, five years to life imprisonment, consecutive to any other sentence imposed. The drug offenses carry additional penalties of up to a $1,000,000 fine and at least three years of supervised release. The firearm offenses include penalties of up to a $250,000 fine and up to three years of supervised release.

      The investigation was conducted by DEA, with assistance from the Little Rock Police Department and Arkansas State Police. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Chris Givens and Benecia Moore.

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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the

United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, is available online at



Updated July 21, 2022

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses