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Press Release

Evansville Snapchat Fentanyl Dealer Responsible for at least Three Overdoses and Teen’s Death Sentenced to Twenty Years in Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana

EVANSVILLE- Jeremial Lee Leach, 20, of Evansville, Indiana has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, after pleading guilty to one count of Distribution of Fentanyl Resulting in Death, one count of distribution of fentanyl, and one count of distribution of fentanyl resulting in serious bodily injury.

According to court documents, Leach is responsible for dealing fentanyl resulting in at least three overdoses, one of which resulted in the death of a 19-year-old. Leach advertised fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills over Snapchat to hundreds of recipients using the alias “Mel.”

On June 25, 2022, at approximately 12:11 a.m., officers with the Evansville Police Department (EPD) responded to a residence on Wedeking Avenue in reference to the overdose of a woman. The woman was revived with naloxone. Later the same day, at approximately 10:55 a.m., EPD officers responded to the same residence for the overdose of another woman, just nineteen years old, who subsequently died. The coroner located a counterfeit oxycodone pill containing fentanyl on the deceased woman’s person. The cause of both overdoses was determined to be fentanyl intoxication.

Investigators searched the deceased victim’s phone and found conversations between her and Jeremial “Mel” Leach in which they discussed a transaction for the purchase of pills they identified as “blues.” Leach gave her his address on Shanklin Avenue and confirmed the price for the sale of the pills.

On August 20, 2022, at approximately 4:15 p.m., EPD officers were dispatched to a restaurant located on Hirschland Road concerning an overdose. Upon arrival, the officers located a woman sitting on the ground in the parking lot of the restaurant, not alert and beginning to lose consciousness. An officer administered naloxone and, a short time later, the woman began to regain consciousness. The woman advised first responders and medical personnel that she had taken a 30 mg tablet of oxycodone. The women’s companion identified Leach as the supplier of the pill and the location of the purchase as a residence on Shanklin Avenue.

On October 11, 2022, investigators with the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Drug Task Force observed Leach conduct two apparent drug deals at his residence. The buyers left separately in a Kia Optima and a gold Hyundai Tucson. Shortly thereafter, law enforcement stopped both vehicles after observing traffic violations.

During the stop of the vehicles, investigators located three blue pills marked “M30” inside the Kia and six blue pills marked “M30” inside the Tucson. One of the boys in the buyer’s car later stated that his dealer’s name was “Mel.”

Later that day, officers executed a search warrant at Leach’s residence on Shanklin Avenue. Leach exited the front door of the home and was taken into custody by detectives. Some of the items located and seized during the search included 33 blue pills marked “30,” a digital scale, two 9mm pistolsand approximately $1,843 in cash.

The pills seized during the two traffic stops and from Leach’s residence were submitted for laboratory analysis and tested positive for the presence of fentanyl. 

“This young woman should be alive today. Mr. Leach pushed deadly poison over social media, ending a teenager’s life far too early, and risking many more,” said Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “Fentanyl traffickers commit their crimes with utter disregard for the lives of our friends and neighbors or the harm they cause to families in our community. I commend the outstanding work of the DEA, the Evansville Police Department, the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Drug Task Force, and our federal prosecutors to secure some measure of justice for the victims of this fentanyl dealer. The sentence imposed here should serve as a warning: these poisons kill—and selling them will earn you decades in federal prison.”

“The sentence imposed on Mr. Leach is righteous and justified. Mr. Leach utilized social media platforms to advertise the sale of fentanyl and continued distributing the poisonous fentanyl even though it had already caused fatal and near fatal overdoses. The DEA would like to extend their deepest condolences to the Duncan family and all families who have lost a loved one to a fentanyl poising,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Mike Gannon. “DEA remains committed to working hand in hand with our state, local and federal partners in order to keep our communities safe.  DEA commends the outstanding work by the Evansville Police Department, The Evansville-Vanderburgh County Drug Task Force and the United States Attorney’s Office.”

DEA, Evansville Police Department, and the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Drug Task Force investigated this case. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Kristian Mukoski and Todd S. Shellenbarger, who prosecuted this case.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, as little as two milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal, depending on a person’s body size, tolerance, and past usage. One kilogram of fentanyl has the potential to kill 500,000 people. Laboratory testing indicates 7 out of every 10 pills seized by DEA contain a lethal dose of fentanyl.

One Pill Can Kill: Avoid pills bought on the street because One Pill Can Kill. Fentanyl is a highly potent opioid that drug dealers dilute with cutting agents to make counterfeit prescription pills that appear to be Oxycodone, Percocet, Xanax, and other drugs.  Fentanyl is used because it’s cheap.  Small variations in the quantity or quality of fentanyl in a fake prescription pill can accidentally create a lethal dosage.  Fentanyl has now become the leading cause of drug poisoning deaths in the United States.  Fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl are usually shaped and colored to look like pills sold at pharmacies, like Percocet and Xanax.  For example, fake prescription pills known as “M30s” imitate Oxycodone obtained from a pharmacy, but when sold on the street the pills routinely contain fentanyl. These particular pills are usually round tablets and often light blue in color, though they may be in different shapes and a rainbow of colors.  They often have “M” and “30” imprinted on opposite sides of the pill.  Do not take these or any other pills bought on the street – they are routinely fake and poisonous, and you won’t know until it’s too late.  


Updated May 17, 2024