Skip to main content
Press Release

Lexington Man Receives Life Sentence For Distributing Fentanyl Resulting In Death

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. – A federal judge has sentenced a Lexington man to life in prison, for illegally distributing drugs that caused an overdose death in Lexington.


Senior U.S. District Judge Joseph M. Hood formally sentenced 28 year-old Joshua Donald Ewing for distribution of fentanyl and heroin resulting in the death of Jeremy Deaton.


Under federal law, those convicted of illegally distributing Schedule I and II drugs that result in death face a minimum of 20 years and maximum of life in prison. If the defendant has a prior felony drug conviction, they are subject to a mandatory life sentence. A jury found Ewing guilty of the offense earlier this year.


According to the evidence at trial, in February of 2016, Ewing sold a mixture of fentanyl and heroin to Deaton, who thought he was only receiving heroin. Deaton consumed the drugs and died of an overdose. Fentanyl is an extremely powerful opioid that can be as much as 50 times stronger than heroin. A toxicologist confirmed that, had it not been for the fentanyl, Deaton would not have died. The toxicologist further explained that Deaton’s blood contained more than five times the therapeutic range for fentanyl.


At the time he illegally sold the drugs to Deaton, Ewing was on probation for a prior felony drug conviction.


Carlton S. Shier, IV, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; 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 DEA and the Lexington Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Bradbury prosecuted this case on behalf of the federal government


Updated April 17, 2017

Drug Trafficking