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Justice News

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

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Oshkosh Fentanyl Dealer Receives 20 Years in Federal Prison for Overdose Deaths

Matthew D. Krueger, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced today that Desmond T. Burns (age: 40) of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, appeared in federal court in Green Bay and was sentenced to 20 years in prison for distributing fentanyl that resulted in the overdose deaths of four individuals in the Fox Valley.  During proceedings in this case, Burns acknowledged distributing an especially potent form of fentanyl, which led to the overdose deaths in the summer of 2017.        

“Our hearts are heavy with the reality of four lives lost because of the fentanyl the defendant sold,” said U.S. Attorney Krueger. “The dangers of fentanyl cannot be overstated. Just a quarter of a milligram of fentanyl can be fatal. Yet fentanyl is regularly being trafficked in Wisconsin, causing hundreds of overdose deaths each year. This lengthy sentence should send a clear message: Anyone dealing a deadly poison like fentanyl can face decades in federal prison. We are committed to working with federal, state, and local partners to prosecute fentanyl trafficking aggressively. We commend the excellent partnership among the law enforcement agencies that brought this case to justice.”

In pronouncing sentence, Chief U.S. District Court Judge William C. Griesbach noted the “extremely serious” nature of Burns’ crime and the negative effect that fentanyl and all drugs have on the community.  He found that Burns was aware of the inherent dangers of distributing illegal substances, finding that although Burns may not have intended for his customers to die, he reasonably could foresee that one of them might suffer a fatal overdose. Following his release from prison, Burns also must serve 10 years on federal supervised release.  

The case was investigated by the New London Police Department, the Appleton Police Department, the Neenah Police Department, and the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel R. Humble.

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Updated April 30, 2019