United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez joined Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister to announce federal charges filed against Corey Damond Smith, Jr. (23, Tampa) for the distribution of fentanyl resulting in the death of an individual. Two others, Jeffrey Luis Rodriguez and Donald Calvin Hatch, Jr., have also been charged for their roles in this case.
According to court documents, on November 13, 2017, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office responded to aid a man who had suffered from an opioid overdose. Hillsborough County Fire Rescue also responded to the scene and administered several doses of Narcan. However, these lifesaving measures were unsuccessful in reviving the victim. Detectives learned that the victim had obtained the narcotics from Smith, who had sold them as heroin. In fact, Smith had actually sold fentanyl, which is 10 times stronger than heroin. A medical autopsy revealed that the cause of death of the victim was fentanyl intoxication.
Hatch has admitted to conspiring with Rodriguez, acting as his intermediary, in multiple sales of opioids to undercover law enforcement. He also admitted to having used heroin sold to him by Rodriguez and overdosing as a result. For additional details, please see press release.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office and HCSO have maintained a long and substantial partnership in the effort to pursue significant criminal offenders. The partnership reflected in these cases demonstrates the high priority and commitment by the sheriff's office and the Justice Department to combat opioid trafficking and abuse.
During the press conference, U.S. Attorney Chapa Lopez highlighted the Middle District of Florida’s anti-opioid strategy; Sheriff Chronister unveiled the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office’s Heroin Working Group. The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office was commended for their assistance during the investigation of these cases. Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Palermo is the prosecutor handling these cases.