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Justice News

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

Friday, January 13, 2017

Lexington Man Faces Life in Prison After Convicted by Jury of Distributing Fentanyl Resulting in Death

LEXINGTON, Ky. – A Lexington man faces life in prison after a jury convicted him of distributing fentanyl that resulted in the overdose death of a 37 year-old Fayette County resident.


On Thursday, Joshua Donald Ewing, 28, was convicted of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death. The jury returned the verdict after seven hours of deliberation following two days of trial. Because of Ewing’s criminal history, he is subject to a mandatory life sentence under the federal overdose death law. Sentencing is scheduled for February 6.


“The drug dealers who sell heroin and fentanyl in our communities know full well that, sooner or later, the result of their criminal conduct is likely a tragic and unnecessary death,” said Kerry B. Harvey, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “Overdose victims are not merely statistics-they leave behind grieving parents, siblings, and children who deserve justice. While we take no joy in these cases, we are committed to using every available tool to combat the opioid epidemic which so afflicts our Commonwealth. All of us owe a debt of gratitude to the local and federal law enforcement officers who do the hard work that has made our Overdose Prosecution Initiative so successful.”


According to evidence presented at trial, in February of 2016, Ewing sold fentanyl to Jeremy Deaton, who was expecting heroin. Deaton consumed the drug, and died of an overdose. A toxicologist testified that, had it not been for the fentanyl, Deaton would not have died. The toxicologist further testified that Deaton had more than five times the therapeutic range of fentanyl in his blood.


Ewing was on probation for possession of heroin at the time he sold the fentanyl to Deaton.


U.S. Attorney Harvey; Timothy J. Plancon, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration; and Mark Barnard, Chief of Lexington Police, jointly made the announcement.


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

Drug Trafficking
Updated January 13, 2017