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Press Release

Dallas Man Sentenced to 14 years in Federal Prison for Supplying Fentanyl in Rowlett Overdose

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

PLANO, Texas – A Dallas man has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for drug trafficking violations related to a 2021 overdose death, announced Eastern District of Texas U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs today.

Robel Habtemariam, 20, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to manufacture and deliver fentanyl and was sentenced to 168 months in federal prison on May 19, 2023, by U.S. District Judge Sean D. Jordan.

According to information presented in court, on March 16, 2021, law enforcement authorities responded to a parking lot regarding an unconscious person. Upon arrival, they found the victim lying on the ground just outside of a vehicle with two teenagers attempting to move him into the vehicle.  The victim was administered Narcan and was transported to a hospital where he died.    An investigation revealed that Habtemariam provided the victim with a pill and had left the scene before law enforcement arrived.  Habtemariam returned to the scene at the request of officers and granted consent to search his vehicle. Officers located 25 pills that appeared to be Oxycodone but were later determined to be “pressed” pills containing Fentanyl.  The investigation determined that Habtemariam provided one of the pills to the victim which caused his overdose.  Instead of calling 911, Habtemariam called the victim’s girlfriend and left the scene. Habtemariam ultimately identified his original source of supply as Antonio Havis. Havis was previously convicted and sentenced to 20 years in federal prison by Judge Jordan on December 9, 2022.   

“Fentanyl overdose deaths are tragic and heartbreaking,” said U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs.  “As long as fentanyl plagues our community and causes tragic, unnecessary deaths, we will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute overdose cases.  Friday’s sentencing of Robel Habtemariam sends a clear message that this Office and our state and federal law enforcement partners will continue to prosecute and hold accountable dealers who distribute this poison, exploit addictions, and cause senseless deaths in the Eastern District of Texas.”

“Today’s sentence is just another consequence of deadly illicit fentanyl in our neighborhoods,” said Eduardo A. Chávez, Special Agent in Charge of DEA Dallas.  “Mr. Habtemariam will spend the next 14 years in federal prison because of one deadly pill.  Because of that same pill, a life was lost and families have been forever changed.  DEA Dallas and our law enforcement partners throughout the region will continue to investigate overdose and poisoning deaths and bring those responsible to justice; however, every one of us must do our part to prevent and educate others that truly One Pill Can Kill.”

This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Rowlett Police Department and the Rowlett Fire and Emergency Services and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew T. Johnson. 


Updated May 22, 2023

Drug Trafficking