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Press Release

Drug Dealer Who Sold Fentanyl-Laced Crack Sentenced to More Than 16 Years After Four People Died in a Single Day

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

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. – A Beulaville man was sentenced today to 200 months in prison for conspiracy and distribution of cocaine base (crack) and fentanyl. Four people died from overdoses after consuming drugs sold by Marshall Ray Scarborough on a single day in April 2021. Scarborough was also ordered to pay the funeral expenses for all the victims. On February 7, 2023, Scarborough, age 65, pled guilty to the charges.

"Drug dealers who lace fentanyl into their supply are killing Americans at record rates, and families across Eastern North Carolina are feeling the pain of burying their loved ones far too early,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley.  “Four of this fentanyl dealer’s customers had their lives snuffed out in a single day.  Dealers should know, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering local Sheriffs Offices to send fentanyl dealers to federal prison for the death and sorrow they sow."

“This is a great example of what happens when we work together, and I commend the men and women who worked relentlessly in conducting a thorough investigation,” said Duplin County Sheriff Stratton Stokes. “Today, Marshall Scarborough was sentenced to a lengthy prison sentence in federal court, which ensures that he will no longer spread poison in our community, or other communities.  I hope this brings some form of comfort and closure to the victims’ families. Let this be a notice to anyone actively dealing narcotics or planning to deal narcotics in Duplin County.  Our Office will continue to work diligently with our local, state, and federal allies to rid our communities of these issues.”  

According to court documents and other information presented in court, deputies with the Duplin County Sheriff’s Office responded to three separate residences with unresponsive individuals, and the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office responded to a fourth. Efforts to revive individuals were unsuccessful. In three of the four cases, autopsies were performed, and the cause of death was listed as acute fentanyl and cocaine intoxication. In the fourth case, no autopsy was performed, but a blood test revealed fentanyl, cocaine and diazepam. The investigation determined that Scarborough was the source of supply for the crack that all four victims had ingested.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle. The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Duplin County Sheriff’s Office, the Wallace Police Department, and the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tyler Lemons  prosecuted the case.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 7:22-CR-116-BO-001.


Updated June 12, 2023

Drug Trafficking