Opioid Crisis Update: Men Make Federal Appearances on Heroin Charges
United States Attorney Ron Parsons announces that three men have made their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Veronica L. Duffy on charges related to their heroin distribution in the Sioux Falls area.
Maurice Cathey, age 37, of Chicago, Illinois, was indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to distribute heroin resulting in death and serious bodily injury. Cathey appeared before Judge Duffy on July 19, 2018. He was returned to the custody of the Minnehaha County Sheriff. If convicted, Cathey faces a mandatory period of twenty years in prison and a maximum of life.
Jacob Lottman, age 25, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was indicted by a federal grand jury for distribution of heroin resulting in serious bodily injury. Lottman appeared before Judge Duffy on July 13, 2018, and was placed into the custody of the U.S. Marshals. If convicted, Lottman faces a mandatory period of twenty years in prison and a maximum of life.
Devlin Tommeraasen, age 23, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to distribute heroin. Tommeraasen appeared before Judge Duffy on July 19, 2018. He was placed into the custody of the U.S. Marshals. If convicted, Tommeraasen faces a maximum of twenty years in prison.
The charges are merely accusations and these defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Approximately 64,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses in 2016 – the highest drug death toll in American history. This year, at least twelve drug overdose deaths have occurred in Minnehaha County alone.
Many of the drug overdoses occurring in South Dakota in the past year have resulted from the sale of heroin laced with fentanyl – a synthetic opioid much stronger than heroin. Fentanyl is sold in many forms, such as powder, crystals, or liquid, and even a tiny amount can kill. The estimated lethal dose of pharmaceutical grade fentanyl in humans is two milligrams, the mass of about two grains of salt, shown next to a Lincoln penny in the picture below:
Even worse, fentanyl analogues, like carfentanil, are even more potent than fentanyl and are being trafficked with increasing frequency.
Fentanyl can be mixed into other drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, or pressed into pills and sold as counterfeit prescription drugs. Users who seek to obtain these other drugs often have no idea that they are actually putting something much deadlier into their bodies.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is working closely with the Sioux Falls Area Drug Task Force, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office, and our other federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute these cases.