Lake Worth Resident Charged With Distribution of Fentanyl Resulting in Death
A Lake Worth resident is charged with distributing fentanyl, a controlled substance that was ingested and caused the death of another individual.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Adolphus P. Wright, Special Agent in Charge, United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, Ric Bradshaw, Sheriff, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) and Bryan Kummerlen, Chief, West Palm Beach Police Department (WPBPD), made the announcement.
Christopher Sharod Massena, 24, of Palm Beach County was indicted on one count of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death, four counts of distribution of heroin, and one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin. This morning, Massena was ordered held without bond following a pre-trial detention hearing. If convicted of the narcotics distribution resulting in death, Massena faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years to life in prison, to be followed by supervised release and a potential fine of up to $1 million dollars. If convicted of the additional charges, Massena faces a maximum statutory term of 20 years’ imprisonment, to be followed by supervised release and a potential fine of up to $1 million dollars.
“Fentanyl is another dangerous face of the illegal narcotics trade,” stated U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer. “It is a controlled substance that is up to 100 times stronger than morphine and can be lethal, even in very small doses. As a community, we must be vigilant and educate ourselves and others regarding the dangers associated with all drug abuse.”
“The DEA takes the illegal distribution of any illegal drug very seriously,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge A.D. Wright. “The recent spike in opiate sales which are resulting in deaths only heightens our commitment to continue our fight. The DEA is working very closely with our law enforcement partners in Palm Beach County and the United States Attorney’s Office to fully investigate and prosecute illicit drug trafficking activities to ensure that those responsible are held accountable for the consequences of their actions, especially when the sales result in the tragic death of another individual.”
According to the court record, on February 18, 2016, Massena distributed fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled substance, to a twenty-three year old man who died of acute fentanyl toxicity shortly after ingesting the substance. Thereafter, on four separate occasions, Massena distributed controlled substances, to wit, heroin and heroin mixed with fentanyl, to an undercover police officer. On April 21, 2016, Massena possessed heroin with the intent to distribute the narcotic.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the DEA, PBSO, and WPBPD. Mr. Ferrer also thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their assistance. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer C. Nucci.
An indictment is merely an allegation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.