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Press Release

Highland Heights man indicted for selling furanyl fentanyl that resulted in fatal overdose of Cleveland teen

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

A 10-count indictment was unsealed that charges a Highland Heights man was with selling furanyl fentanyl that resulted in the fatal overdose of a Cleveland teen, said Acting U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja and Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams.


Alec J. Steinberger, 21, was indicted on one count each of distribution of furanyl fentanyl that resulted in death, distribution of furanyl fentanyl and distribution of Xanax and seven counts of using a telephone to facilitate the commission of a felony.


“We continue to seek long prison sentences for drug dealers who sell opioids that kill our children, friends and neighbors,” Sierleja said. “Aggressive prosecution, combined with increased treatment, prevention and changes in prescribing practices are key to turning the tide on the heroin and opioid epidemic.”


“Investigators of the Heroin Death Investigation Team are trained to investigate heroin overdose cases and link the victims back to the dealers,” said Cleveland Division of Police Chief Calvin D. Williams. “It is through the combined efforts of law enforcement, at the local, state and federal levels, and prosecutors of the U.S. Attorney’s Office that these indictments are secured and convictions are won. It is the hope that these examples will deter others from continuing this deadly cycle.”


Beginning on Jan. 30, 2016, Steinberger received Alprazolam (also known as Xanax) and furanyl fentanyl for distribution. Furanyl fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid. These drugs came to Steinberger through the mail, according to the indictment.


On Feb. 23, 2016, Steinberger texted an associated: “I just got a pack bro.” He then informed several people that he had drugs for sale, including a man identified in the indictment only as L.H.


Steinberger texted L.H. repeatedly the next day. Messages included: “bro I did it last night any my pupils got so small they disappeared and then I was nodding for 18 hrs,” “Bro this is uncut from the road” and “this is uncut from china,” according to the indictment.


Steinberger then repeatedly texted L.H. if he knew anyone that could cut or dilute the drugs and repackage it for sale. Steinberger texted: “We gonna chill tmr” “and go to the hood and give samples” and “try and find out how to cut and re rock,” according to the indictment.


Shortly after midnight on Feb. 25, Steinberger texted L.H.: “Find me customers and tell them you’re the plug and I’ll get it to you and then sell it and cut u in a tiny bit and throw u a free (Klonopin) and dope,” according to the indictment.


On Feb. 25, L.H. fatally overdosed on furanyl fentanyl he bought from Steinberger, according to the indictment.


If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violations. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and, in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.


This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Cronin following an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Cleveland Division of Police.


An information 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 April 12, 2017

Drug Trafficking