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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 3, 2018

Three from Summit County indicted for having 1,500 pills of fentanyl stamped to look like Oxycodone

Three people from Summit County were indicted in federal court after they were arrested with 1,500 pills stamped to look like Oxycodone but which were actually pills of fentanyl.

Gerald Bowerman, 36, of Cuyahoga Falls, Emmett Nelson, 34, of Akron, and Cortney Williams, 22, of Cuyahoga Falls, were each indicted on one count conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.

“This case is another stark reminder that drugs bought on the street don’t come with a verified list of ingredients and people have no idea what they are putting into their body,” U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman said. “Those who make the mistake of trying these drugs can be making the last mistake of their lives. These arrests helped save at least 1,500 lives.”

Akron Police Chief Kenneth Ball said: “The battle against the opioid crisis takes many shapes and impacts a widely diverse group.  In this instance, criminal predators were willing to put so many at great risk by poisoning prescription drugs with fentanyl.  Communities and families continue to suffer significantly because of acts like this.  Fortunately law enforcement continues to work together to hold these despicable lawbreakers accountable.”

Bowerman, Nelson and Williams on April 17 traveled from 789 Upson Street in Akron to a residence at 1523 S. Chapel Street in Louisville, then back to the Akron residence. Bowerman carried a package with him as he entered the Akron home, according to court documents.

All three were detained later that day. Williams possessed 260 pills stamped as Oxycodone 30 milligrams, as well as a drug ledger that contained the amounts of pills Williams was selling and delivering. Agents and officers found approximately 1,000 pills on the kitchen counter next to an empty U.S. Postal package, according to court documents.

Nelson stated the package they picked up in Louisville was supposed to contain 1,500 pills and he was in the process of counting the pills when law enforcement entered the home, according to court documents.

While the pills were stamped as Oxycodone, a subsequent test revealed the pills were made up of fentanyl and cutting agents.

The defendants are scheduled to appear in court later this week.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Summit County Drug Unit and Akron Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Vasile Katsaros and Patrick Burke.

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 violation.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

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.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Mike Tobin 216.622.3651 michael.tobin@usdoj.gov
Updated May 3, 2018