Skip to main content
Press Release

Defendants Sentenced for Drug Trafficking that Resulted in Two Deaths

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

GREENSBORO – Two defendants whose 18-month long drug conspiracy resulted in the death of one college student and contributed to the death of another have been sentenced, announced United States Attorney Sandra J. Hairston of the Middle District of North Carolina (MDNC).   

CYE LEANCE FRASIER, also known as “The Barber,” age 44, was sentenced today to 29 years in prison, and CARLISA RENEA ALLEN, age 46, was sentenced on February 13, 2024, to 28 years in prison. FRASIER pleaded guilty on October 25, 2023, to conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine hydrochloride, and conspiracy to distribute a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl, resulting in death. ALLEN was found guilty at trial on November 17, 2023, of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and fentanyl resulting in death; distribution of cocaine hydrochloride; possession with intent to distribute cocaine; possession with intent to distribute fentanyl; and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Evidence presented at trial, including thousands of text messages between ALLEN and FRASIER, photographs and a note retrieved from ALLEN’s cellphone, and Cash App and Venmo records, showed that ALLEN and FRASIER marketed themselves to local college students as a source of narcotics, primarily cocaine. On occasion, the pair knowingly sold fentanyl. The evidence also showed that the death of Joshua Skip Zinner on or about March 9, 2023, resulted from the use of cocaine laced with fentanyl that he had purchased from the ALLEN and FRASIER drug conspiracy. At sentencing, the court heard from Zinner’s family members, as well as family members of Elizabeth Grace Burton, who also died after ingesting cocaine laced with fentanyl purchased directly from Frasier.

“The heinous and inhumane actions of these defendants led to the senseless loss of two young lives,” said United States Attorney Hairston. “While nothing will ever erase the pain of the families who suffered these tremendous losses, the sentences send a strong message of deterrence to people who consider selling poisonous mixtures of illegal drugs. We also hope this prosecution helps prevent future tragedies by raising public awareness of the serious risk users face when consuming illegal substances, which increasingly contain potentially lethal amounts of fentanyl and other dangerous drugs.”

Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Division stated, “Dangerous drug traffickers are enriching their lives by profiting off someone else’s pain. The number of lives forever changed as a result of this greed are far too numerous to count.” 

“We cannot simply sit back and continue watching our community members, including students at our institutions of higher learning, die senseless deaths,” said Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood. “Our education and awareness efforts must prepare people for the realities of today. Fentanyl is in substances everywhere, and it is deadly.”

FRASIER was sentenced to a 348-month term of imprisonment and ALLEN was sentenced to a 336-month term of imprisonment by the Honorable William L. Osteen, United States District Judge in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. At the conclusion of his active term of imprisonment, FRASIER will be subject to supervised release for 5 years. ALLEN will be subject to supervised release for 5 years following her release from prison. They were both ordered to pay restitution to the families of Joshua Skip Zinner and Elizabeth Grace Burton in the amount of $8,000 dollars and $11,304 dollars, respectively. Both students died after using fentanyl-laced cocaine provided to them by ALLEN and FRASIER in furtherance of their drug conspiracy.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Durham Police Department, Duke University Police Department, Raleigh Police Department, Raleigh/Wake County City-County Bureau of Identification, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Cary Police Department, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Nash County Sheriff’s Office, and the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael A. DeFranco and Tracy M. Williams-Durham.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.


Updated February 28, 2024