Cincinnati Man Pleads Guilty to Distribution of Drugs Resulting in Death
COVINGTON, Ky. – A Cincinnati man has admitted in federal court that he conspired to provide illicit drugs to a woman who then died of an overdose.
Michael Howard, 41, pleaded guilty yesterday, before U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar, to conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and morphine that resulted in death.
Howard admitted selling heroin to co-defendant Kimberly Mullins on a regular basis, during a four-month period in 2015, knowing that Mullins could arrange to get the drugs to Jamie Green, who was incarcerated. Howard knew that distributing these drugs could cause death.
Howard further admitted supplying what he believed to be heroin to Mullins, on September 4, 2015, who was to then get the drugs to Green. The substance actually contained a combination of fentanyl (a dangerous opiate that is much more powerful than heroin) and morphine.
Mullins arranged to deliver the substance to Green though Lynnette Ball and Lisa Lattimore, who were also inmates in the Kenton County Detention Center. On September 5, 2015, Green took the drugs and died of an overdose.
“Those who traffick in heroin and fentanyl cause tremendous damage to our communities and demonstrate a wanton disregard for human life,” said Kerry B. Harvey, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “Our office and our law enforcement partners intend to use every available tool to combat the heroin and fentanyl epidemic that has taken deep root in so many of our communities. The twenty-year mandatory minimum sentence imposed by federal law on drug dealers who traffick in narcotics that cause a death is one such tool. Drug dealers should be on notice – we intend to seek these stiff penalties when their criminal conduct results in death or serious injury – an all too predictable occurrence.”
Howard, Mullins, Lattimore, and Ball were charged with their involvement in the conspiracy in November of 2015. Mullins, Lattimore, and Ball pleaded guilty earlier this year. Two other individuals, Mabry Baioni and Heather Tucker – who were not involved in the events leading to Green’s death – were later charged and pleaded guilty to conspiring with Howard and Mullins to distribute heroin to Green.
U.S. Attorney Harvey and Timothy J. Plancon, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, jointly announced the guilty pleas. The investigation was conducted by the Cincinnati Resident Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Kenton County Police Department. The U.S. Attorney’s Office was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Bracke.
Howard is scheduled to be sentenced on September 23, 2016. Mullins, Ball and Lattimore are scheduled to be sentenced on July 21, 2016. Each faces a maximum of life in prison. Baioni is set for sentencing on July 21, 2016 and Tucker is set for sentencing on September 15, 2016. They face up to 20 years in prison. Any sentences, however, will be imposed by the Court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statutes.