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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 22, 2018

Doctor Sentenced To More Than 9 Years In Prison For Selling Fentanyl That Resulted In Manhattan Man’s Overdose Death

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that AVINOAM LUZON was sentenced this afternoon to 110 months in prison for selling fentanyl that resulted in the overdose death of Gabriel Tramiel, 32, of Manhattan, on October 22, 2016.  LUZON was sentenced today by United States District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Today, Avinoam Luzon was sentenced to prison for selling a lethal dose of fentanyl that took the life of Gabriel Tramiel.  He committed this crime as a trained medical doctor and while enrolled as a graduate student in public health at a university in Manhattan.  Luzon’s conduct helped fuel the nation’s most serious health crisis, the opioid abuse epidemic.”

According to the Information and other documents filed in federal court, as well as statements made during LUZON’s plea proceeding and sentencing:

In the early morning hours of October 23, 2016, Gabriel Tramiel was found dead by his wife.  The medical examiner determined the cause of Tramiel’s death to be acute fentanyl intoxication.  The night before, LUZON and Tramiel met at a drug store on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where LUZON sold Tramiel a quantity of fentanyl.  Tramiel then purchased a nasal spray bottle, and the two went to a nearby restaurant where Tramiel used the drugs in the restaurant bathroom.  When Tramiel returned to the table, he was visibly inebriated from the effects of the narcotic.  Shortly thereafter, surveillance video recovered from the apartment building where Tramiel died showed Tramiel inhaling the contents of the nasal spray bottle in the elevator.  Tramiel died a few hours later.  When LUZON learned of Tramiel’s death the following morning, LUZON called Tramiel’s wife and said he “might be responsible” but claimed he had given Tramiel “liquid morphine.”  The contents of the nasal spray bottle used by Tramiel were tested and determined to be fentanyl.  Law enforcement later searched LUZON’s dorm room and recovered over 160 grams of fentanyl and numerous nasal spray bottles. 

In November 2017, LUZON pled guilty before United States Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman.  At his guilty plea, LUZON admitted that he had intentionally and knowingly distributed fentanyl to Tramiel on October 22, 2016.  Tramiel was found dead the next morning.

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In addition to the prison term, LUZON, 33, of Mountain View, California, was sentenced to three years of supervised release.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding work of the New York City Police Department.  Mr. Berman also thanked the New York State Department of Health’s Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement for their assistance with this investigation.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karin Portlock and Matthew Podolsky are in charge of the case.

Topic(s): 
Opioids
Press Release Number: 
18-088
Updated March 22, 2018