Seven Individuals Facing Federal Charges In Deadly Fentanyl Distribution Conspiracy
Seven individuals are facing federal drug distribution charges following an extraordinary number of drug overdoses in July of this year, all in the Murfreesboro area, announced David Rivera, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. Joining Rivera in announcing the charges at a Noon news conference were Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Tennessee, Christopher Tersigni; Mark Gwyn, Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; and Detective Sergeant Tommy Massey of the Murfreesboro Police Department.
In early July of this year, during a 24-hour period, law enforcement and emergency personnel responded to numerous overdose incidents in the Murfreesboro, Tennessee area. During this period, at least two individuals died and many others ended up in hospitals as a result of ingesting and overdosing on Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid commonly prescribed for pain management and relief.
United States Attorney David Rivera stated, “This organization is charged with making and distributing a lethal cocktail that poisoned our communities. Today, those named in this indictment are being held accountable in a court of law for infecting our local neighbourhoods. However, the prosecution of these individuals has not put an end to this problem. The unlawful distribution of fentanyl and counterfeit prescription pills continue to pose a serious risk to our communities at alarming rates. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners are committed to identifying for prosecution those who place the public’s safety in jeopardy.”
A federal grand jury sitting in Nashville, yesterday, returned a nine-count indictment against the following persons:
Jonathan Barrett, a.k.a. “Punky,” 29, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee;
Eric Falkowski, 34, of Kissimmee, Florida;
Davi Valles, Jr., 25, of Nashville, Tennessee;
Johnny Williams, 30, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee; and
Jason Moss, 26, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Count one of the indictment charged all five with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, the use of which resulted in death and serious bodily injury. One additional count charged all five with distribution of fentanyl, the use of which resulted in death. All five were also charged with five additional counts of distribution of fentanyl, the use of which caused serious bodily injury. Falkowski, Valles, Williams and Moss were also charged with one additional count of distribution of fentanyl that resulted in serious bodily injury. Additionally, Falkowski was charged with one count of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death.
Jennifer Dogonski, 33, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, was previously charged on July 29, 2016, with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, the use of which caused serious bodily injury. She has since pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
Preston Davis, 22, of Madison, Tennessee, was charged on September 13, 2016, with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, the use of which resulted in death. Davis was also charged with possession of an AR-15 assault rifle in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Davis’ charges are pending.
According to charging documents, in May 2016, Falkowski moved his pill operation to the home of Preston Davis, in Madison, Tennessee, after law enforcement conducted a search of his home in Florida and seized his pill presses. The indictment further alleges that at Davis’ Madison home, Falkowski and Davis possessed, among other things, a pill press, multiple dies used for embedding text onto pills, including a die for “A333,” a pill grinder, fentanyl, alprazolam and other drug manufacturing equipment.
The indictment alleges that Preston Davis, Davi Valles, Jr., Jonathan Barrett, Johnny Williams and Jason Moss all distributed pills produced by Falkowski and that during the period of July 5-6, 2016, they distributed hundreds of counterfeit Percocet pills containing fentanyl, with the markings “A333” in and around the Murfreesboro, Tennessee area. On July 6, 2016, Barrett learned that some individuals who had purchased the counterfeit pills had overdosed, and that one had possibly died, and then continued to distribute the counterfeit pills. In total, the indictment alleges that the distribution of fentanyl caused two individuals to die and six persons to experience serious bodily injury requiring medical intervention.
“Today’s indictment and enforcement related efforts could not have been possible without the strong partnerships and support of our state and local law enforcement partners as well as the office of the United States Attorney David Rivera,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Christopher Tersigni. “Let today’s efforts send a resounding shot to be heard by all that of those who profit from preying on the addicted and distribute the poison that continues to plague our communities at epidemic proportions; they will be investigated and prosecuted to the highest extent of the law.”
TBI Director Mark Gwyn said,” Let me be clear: “This is the emerging drug issue in Tennessee, with the potential to be far more destructive and far more deadly than any other drug issue we’ve worked to fight. We’ve warned the public about this issue several times this year and once again, we would urge anyone with a substance abuse issue to seek help. Turning to the streets to find your next fix isn’t the answer. And it might very well cost you your life.”
Six of the defendants are currently in custody. Jason Moss remains at large and is a fugitive.
If convicted, the defendants charged in this indictment face a mandatory minimum term of twenty years in prison, up to life and up to a $1,000,000.00 fine for each count charged.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; and the Murfreesboro Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Courtney L. Coker and Amanda J. Klopf.
These charges are merely accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.