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Press Release

St. Petersburg Man Found Guilty Of Distributing Fentanyl Resulting In Death

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that a federal jury has found Kavon Jackasal (34, St. Petersburg) guilty of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death and possession of fentanyl with the intent to distribute it. Jackasal faces a minimum mandatory 20 years, up to life, in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 19, 2024. Jackasal had been indicted on June 28, 2022.

According to evidence presented at trial, a series of text messages showed that Jackasal had sold fentanyl to the victim multiple times between July and October 2020, when the victim resided in Pinellas County. In October 2020, the victim informed Jackasal that she had violated her probation and would be going to jail. She was released from jail on May 9, 2021, and moved to a residence in Tampa. Beginning on May 25, 2021, the victim began texting several people looking for drugs. In one of the texts to another individual, the victim requested fentanyl. After her attempts to get fentanyl from other sources were unsuccessful, she texted Jackasal. The victim told Jackasal she was out of jail and sent him an address. She sent him a text (“$$”) and indicated that she had cash, but she did not specify that she wanted fentanyl. Based on their previous text history, however, it was apparent that Jackasal knew she wanted fentanyl.

The text messages exchanged between Jackasal and the victim indicated that Jackasal had delivered a substance to the victim shortly after 1:00 a.m. on May 26, 2021. The victim’s cellphone call log and testimony from a roommate showed that the victim was talking on the phone at 10:00 a.m. that morning. Her roommates left the residence to run errands, and when they returned, they found her dead in her bedroom at approximately 1:25 p.m. The evidence showed that she died of an overdose caused by the use of fentanyl.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office responded and investigated the death. Investigators reviewed the victim’s message history and were able to determine, by process of elimination, that someone identified in her contacts as “Neq York” was likely the person that had delivered the fentanyl to her. Her text history with Jackasal showed that she referred to him as “New York.” Investigators lured the seller back to the residence by texting Neq York and asking for the “same from yesterday.” After responding and agreeing to another delivery, Jackasal arrived at the residence and was arrested. Inside his vehicle, investigators found a plastic bag containing fentanyl inside a cigarette box. DNA evidence was consistent with Jackasal’s touch DNA being present on the cigarette box.

Laboratory analysis confirmed that the substance in the cigarette box was fentanyl. A small amount of fentanyl was also found in a small baggie inside the victim’s bedroom. Despite differences in the color and compounds between the mixtures containing fentanyl from the cigarette box and from the victim’s bedroom, and differences in the packaging, the evidence from the victim’s cellphone made it clear that Jackasal was the only person who had agreed to bring her fentanyl the night before her overdose, and she did not attempt to acquire more fentanyl after the delivery from Jackasal.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Hillsborough Medical Examiner’s Office, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Sinacore and Samantha Newman.

Updated December 12, 2023

Drug Trafficking