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Press Release

Cleveland man indicted for distributing fentanyl that killed woman

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

A two-count indictment was filed in federal court charging a Cleveland man with distributing fentanyl that killed a woman last year, said Carole S. Rendon, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Robert J. Johnson, 26, was indicted on two counts of distribution of fentanyl. The charges stem from sales of fentanyl that took place on Aug. 25 and 27, 2015. The Aug. 25 sale resulted in the death of another person, according to the indictment.

That count carries a sentencing enhancement that can result in a 20-year mandatory minimum penalty.

“Fentanyl abuse has caused on unprecedented wave of overdose deaths in our community over the past few weeks,” Rendon said. “The only way we can stem this tide is with a comprehensive approach focused on prevention, treatment, prescribing practices and enforcement. And on the enforcement side, we will continue to aggressively prosecute those who continue to peddle this poison in our community.”

“The heroin epidemic affects not only those who fall victim to drug abuse, but family members, friends, and the community as a whole,” Cleveland Police Commander Gary Gingell said. “Now more than ever it is imperative that those trafficking in heroin are held accountable for their actions as they are responsible for not only promoting drug use, but for the deaths of these victims. I am proud to say that the Cleveland Division of Police partners with the United States Attorney’s Office to ensure that these cases are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” 

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vasile Katsaros following an investigation by the Cleveland Division of Police, with assistance from the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after a review of the federal sentencing guidelines and factors unique to the case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record (if any), the defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated March 23, 2016

Drug Trafficking
Prescription Drugs