Five indicted for selling heroin or fentanyl that caused Lorain County overdoses
Five Lorain County men were indicted in federal court for selling heroin and/or fentanyl that resulted in overdoses.
Three of the overdoses were fatal while the users were revived in the other two cases. All five indictments carry sentencing enhancements for selling drugs that resulted in death or serious bodily injury.
Those indicted are: Delante Lunn, 36, of Elyria; Russell Davis, 47, of Lorain; Cecil Shelton, 22, of Elyria; Jesus D. Cruz, 35, of Elyria, and Leon Hale, 35, of Elyria.
The indictments were announced by U.S. Attorney Carole S. Rendon, FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony, Elyria Police Chief Duane Whitely, Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will and Lorain Police Capt. Roger Watkins.
Lunn is charged in a five-count indictment with distributing heroin and fentanyl, including on Feb. 18, when he sold a heroin and fentanyl mixture in Elyria that resulted in a fatal overdose, according to the indictment.
Davis is charged in a two-count indictment with distributing fentanyl and cocaine. Davis sold fentanyl in Lorain on March 7 that resulted in a fatal overdose, according to the indictment.
Shelton is charged in a four-count indictment with distributing heroin, including selling heroin on March 18 in Elyria that resulted in a fatal overdose, according to the indictment.
Cruz is charged in a six-count indictment with distributing fentanyl and heroin, as well as being a felon in possession of firearm. Cruz sold drugs several times in March, including on March 2 in Elyria, which resulted in a fentanyl overdose. He also illegally possessed a .357 revolver despite a prior conviction for heroin trafficking, according to the indictment.
Hale is charged in a four-count indictment with distributing heroin, fentanyl and cocaine. Hale sold heroin and fentanyl on Feb. 21 in Elyria that resulted in an overdose, according to the indictment.
In an unrelated case, Ryan Sumlin, 27, of Akron, was charged in a superseding indictment with selling a mix of heroin and fentanyl that caused a fatal overdose in Akron on March 28, 2015. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has now indicted 16 cases with enhanced sentencing provisions for selling heroin or fentanyl that caused death or serious injury.
“Aggressively targeting dealers who sell heroin and fentanyl that kills people is one of several tools required to turn the tide on the opioid epidemic,” Rendon said. “We need to continue to work to make treatment more available to those who want help, work with our medical community to decrease the availability of opioids, and talk to our children about how dangerous these drugs can be.”
“It is almost a daily occurrence to hear of a death due to heroin or fentanyl,” Anthony said. “Law enforcement will continue to work collaboratively to hold accountable those that bring this poison and destruction to our communities.”
“The entire country is dealing with a surge of overdose deaths as a result of the heroin epidemic,” Whitely said. “Lorain County Ohio is no exception. Lorain County law enforcement agencies have been attacking this epidemic for several years. Selling drugs that result in the someone's death needs to be pursued as a murder. It is no different than killing someone with a gun. Our relationship with the U.S. Attorney's Office has proved to be a winning partnership. By working together, we are able to put these murderers in prison for a long time.”
“The City of Lorain is well aware of the urgent need to combat the heroin and fentanyl crises which plagues our city, and communities throughout this area,” Watkins said. “Today’s indictments are a step in the right direction. We will continue our proactive efforts, while working together with our local, state, and federal partners, to combat this epidemic.”
These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert F. Corts and Vasile Katsaros following investigations by the FBI, Elyria Police Department and Lorain Police Department. The Sumlin case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Akron Police Department.
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.