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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Indiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 31, 2019

Evansville man arrested in connection with Fentanyl overdose death

Evansville – Josh J. Minkler, the United States Attorney, announced today the arrest of Kalib Scott Powell, 25, of Evansville, Indiana for the Distribution of a Schedule One Controlled Substance (Fentanyl), Resulting in Death.

The arrest is the result of the investigation into the fentanyl-based overdose death of Jacilynn Holifield, 22, also of Evansville, which occurred on or about February 23, 2019. The investigation was conducted by the Evansville office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office, Evansville Vanderburgh County Drug Task Force, Evansville Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Internal Revenue Service, and other law enforcement agencies with support from the Vanderburgh County Coroner’s Office.

As set forth in the federal complaint, Powell is accused of selling fentanyl powder to Jacilynn Holified on or about February 21, 2019 in Evansville. Holifield is believed to have used the fentanyl powder up to and through February 23, 2019. Holifield was found deceased on the morning of February 24, 2019. The cause of Holifield’s death has been ruled fentanyl intoxication by the forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy.

“Tragedies such as these bring families and communities to their knees,” said Minkler. “The Justice Department is committed to devoting the resources of the federal government to upend these avoidable deaths through the aggressive prosecution of drug traffickers, but also through education, outreach and newly conceptualized partnership circles.”

“DEA and our local law enforcement partners working in concert with the United States Attorney's Office (Josh Minkler) will continue to identify subjects involved in selling fentanyl as well as other opioids, including heroin. In this instant investigation, DEA identified a local drug dealer who was selling fentanyl on the streets of Evansville to addicts. As a result, an Evansville resident overdosed and died,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian M. McKnight. “The drug dealer was aware he was selling this deadly poison and he will now be held accountable for his actions. The public should be reminded that people who illegally use fentanyl are playing with their own life. Using this poison could result in a ‘death sentence.’ Evansville ‘drug dealers’ who provide this deadly poison are put on notice; DEA will arrest you! To the cartel leaders operating with impunity in Mexico, who ship these deadly drugs to the United States; we will extradite you and ensure that you are brought to justice, swiftly.”

Tara Sullivan, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation said, “IRS Criminal Investigation is charged with disrupting the money flow of criminal organizations.  Our agents trace criminal proceeds and work to deprive criminals of their illicit spoils.  Together with our OCDETF partners we dismantle illegal drug and money laundering enterprises that try to take root in Indiana.”  

“This case shows the true result of partnerships and cooperation between local and federal law enforcement agencies,” said Assistant Chief of Police Chris Pugh. “The Evansville Police Department takes great pride in the relationships we have with all of federal law enforcement as well as the United States Attorney’s Office.”

According to Assistant United States Attorney Frank E. Dahl, III, who is prosecuting the case for the government, the defendant, if convicted, faces a possible sentence of 20 years to life in prison. 

A complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution demonstrates the Office’s firm commitment to prosecuting those who traffic in large quantities of illegal opiates and other dangerous drugs. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan 3.2

Updated May 31, 2019