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Press Release

Columbia County Man Sentenced to 18 Years in Connection with Two Overdose Deaths

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Jacob Ebel, age 32, of Niverville, New York, was sentenced today to 18 years in prison after admitting that he distributed heroin and fentanyl to two people who died in Columbia County in July 2016. 

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan, New York Division, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); New York State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett; and Columbia County Sheriff David P. Bartlett.

United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino imposed the 18-year term of imprisonment that the Government and Ebel jointly recommended to her when he pled guilty on September 11, 2019.  Ebel will also serve a 3-year term of supervised release.  In imposing sentence, Judge D’Agostino told Ebel, “You are forever intertwined with the senseless, tragic deaths of two people who were loved by their families.”

In pleading guilty, Ebel admitted to selling heroin, fentanyl and other controlled substances, from 2014 through July 26, 2016, in Columbia County. 

Ebel admitted to dealing heroin and fentanyl first to a man identified as S.B., who overdosed on July 3, 2016 and died five days later, and then to a woman identified as S.S., who overdosed and died on July 23, 2016.

S.B., age 29, overdosed and was found unconscious in Niverville on July 3, 2016, less than a mile from Ebel’s house.  A State Police investigation established that prior to the overdose, S.B. had had extensive text message communications with Ebel, and that Ebel had sold heroin and fentanyl to S.B. at about 2:15 p.m. on July 3, 2016, several hours before S.B. was found unresponsive.  Inside S.B.’s vehicle, State Police located a folded, yellow sticky note with heroin and fentanyl, and “4-0” written on the outside – the amount of money that S.B. told the defendant he had in the text message conversations. 

Ebel and S.B. were friends.  Ebel knew that S.B. had died, but he kept dealing heroin and fentanyl.

On the morning of July 23, 2016, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) responded to a house in Stuyvesant, New York, and found S.S. dead.  Investigators found three folded sticky notes in a small plastic bag on her bed; the notes contained heroin and fentanyl.  The CCSO investigation established that Ebel had sold heroin and fentanyl to S.S.’s husband in the days prior to S.S.’s death, and that S.S., age 19, had taken these drugs and died. 

Law enforcement executed a search warrant on Ebel’s house in the early morning hours of July 26, 2016.  Investigators seized about 16 grams of heroin and fentanyl that Ebel intended to sell.  Ebel was arrested that day and has been in custody ever since.

This case was the result of a joint investigation conducted by the New York State Police-Troop K and Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the office of Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett.

Updated January 22, 2020

Drug Trafficking