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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Detroit Man Admits Distributing Drugs that Caused Overdose Death of Madison County Man

The guilty plea serves as a landmark prosecution in the efforts to disrupt Detroit’s drug pipeline to Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The leader of a drug trafficking organization that brought significant amounts of heroin and fentanyl from Detroit, Mich., to Richmond, Ky., has admitted that he distributed fentanyl that caused the overdose death of a Madison County resident earlier this year.

On Monday, Navarius Westberry, 38, originally from Michigan, but living in Lexington, pleaded guilty to distributing a controlled substance resulting in an overdose death. Westberry faces a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of life in prison, without parole. He will be sentenced on November 8, 2016.

Westberry admitted that, from January 2014 until August 2015, he organized and operated a drug trafficking organization in Richmond that distributed between 750 and 1,000 grams of heroin and 50 grams of fentanyl. Westberry also admitted that, in March 2016, he supplied heroin and fentanyl that led to the overdose death of 25 year-old Corey Brewer. The toxicology report and autopsy showed that Brewer’s death was caused by toxic levels of fentanyl.

One of Westberry’s co-defendants, Benjamin Fredrick Charles Robinson, 21, also from Detroit, previously pleaded guilty to distributing fentanyl that caused another overdose. That victim survived the overdose after receiving medical treatment. Robinson is subject to the same penalty range, as Westberry. Both defendants must serve at least 85 percent of the prison sentences imposed at their upcoming sentencing hearings.

“We have known for some time that the Detroit area is a significant source of supply for the growing amounts of heroin, fentanyl, and other narcotics that are devastating so many Kentucky communities,” said Kerry B. Harvey, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “The evidence indicates that the leaders of this conspiracy relocated to Central Kentucky for the sole purpose of establishing a heroin distribution network in our communities. The results, were deadly. This case represents a significant victory in our ongoing efforts to disrupt the “Detroit Pipeline” and is a shining example of effective collaboration between federal and local law enforcement agencies.”

This case marks the first time the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky has applied the federal overdose provisions in a case involving defendants from Michigan whose distribution of drugs in Kentucky caused an overdose.

Three others, including Kevin Feltner, 24, of Richmond, Dion Terry Taylor, 23, from Detroit, and Kathy Lashell Brown Miller, 30, also of Richmond, have previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the drug conspiracy and are awaiting sentences.

U.S. Attorney Harvey, Timothy J. Plancon, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Robert Mott, Acting Police Chief, Richmond Police Department, jointly announced the plea.

The investigation was conducted by the DEA and the Richmond Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Bradbury prosecuted this case on behalf of the federal government.

Any sentence imposed will come after the Court considers the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statutes.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated August 16, 2016