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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 11, 2018

Tampa Man Charged With Distribution Of Fentanyl Resulting In Death, Two Others Charged With Conspiracy And Distribution

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the indictment of Corey Damond Smith, Jr. (23, Tampa) for the distribution of fentanyl resulting in the death of an individual. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

In addition, a separate indictment has been returned against Jeffrey Luis Rodriguez (33, Tampa) charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl resulting in serious bodily injury, one count of distribution of heroin involving serious bodily injury, and five counts of distributing heroin or fentanyl or both. If convicted of the offenses, he faces a life term in federal prison.

A third individual, Donald Calvin Hatch, Jr. (29, Tampa) has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl. He faces up to 30 years in federal prison. A sentencing date for Hatch has not yet been set.

According to court documents, on November 13, 2017, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office responded to an address near the University Mall area to aid a man, B.D., who had suffered from an opioid overdose. Hillsborough County Fire Rescue also responded to the scene and administered several doses of an opioid overdose reversal medication (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.

In his plea agreement, Hatch admitted to conspiring with Rodriguez, acting as his middleman, in five sales of opioids to undercover law enforcement. Hatch also admitted to having used heroin sold to him by Rodriguez and overdosing as a result. 

An indictment is merely formal charge that an individual has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

These cases are part of the Middle District of Florida’s anti-opioid strategy to combat opioid trafficking and abuse. They were investigated by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office’s Heroin Working Group, with assistance from the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office. They are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Palermo.

Updated June 13, 2018