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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Kentucky

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Cincinnati Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Causing a Fatal Overdose

COVINGTON, Ky. – Johnny L. Shelton, 41, of Cincinnati, was sentenced today to life in prison, by United States District Judge David L. Bunning, for conspiring to distribute carfentanil resulting in death.

Shelton was convicted in June 2018, following a five-day jury trial.  According to testimony at trial, Shelton led a conspiracy to smuggle carfentanil, an extremely powerful opioid, into the Boone County Jail Work Camp, on or about October 15, 2016.  Evidence revealed that Timothy Marcum, a fellow inmate, consumed some of the carfentanil and died.  Jailers found Marcum’s body, in the work camp, during the early morning hours of October 16, 2016. 

Under federal law, Shelton will not be eligible for release from prison.  The life sentence was mandated because Shelton’s conduct caused death and he had a prior conviction for drug trafficking.  Court documents showed that Shelton was convicted of felony drug trafficking offenses on five prior occasions in Ohio.  Other members of the conspiracy have been previously sentenced.  Chad Prodoehl was tried, convicted, and sentenced to 300 months in prison, in May 2018.  Gordon Wanser pled guilty and was sentenced to 43 months in prison, in July 2018.

Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Timothy J. Plancon, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, jointly made the announcement.  The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration.  The United States was represented by Assistant United States Attorneys Tony Bracke and Wade Napier.


Drug Trafficking
Updated November 7, 2018