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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 15, 2019

Drug Dealer Sentenced To More Than 17 Years In Prison For Selling Fentanyl That Caused Overdose Death Of Public School Teacher In The Bronx

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that KASHAWN LYONS was sentenced to 210 months in prison in connection with his sale of the fentanyl that resulted in the death of Matthew Azimi, a public school teacher in the Bronx.  LYONS pled guilty to narcotics conspiracy on January 14, 2019.  As part of his guilty plea, LYONS stipulated that he sold the drugs that resulted in the death of Mr. Azimi.  U.S. District Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr. imposed today’s sentence.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Kashawn Lyons admitted to selling a fatal dose of fentanyl to Matthew Azimi, a public school teacher in the Bronx, who overdosed inside of his schoolhouse at the age of 36. The tragic death of a public educator is a reminder of the pervasiveness of the opioid epidemic and its destructive effect on our society. Today’s sentence serves as a reminder that lengthy prison terms will result from dealing deadly opioids.”

According to court documents and statements made in open court:

On November 30, 2017, Matthew Azimi, age 36, was found dead inside a faculty bathroom at a special education public school in the Bronx (the “School”) where Mr. Azimi was a teacher.  The New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) responded to the School and began investigating Mr. Azimi’s death.  An autopsy conducted following Mr. Azimi’s death revealed that he died from a lethal dose of fentanyl.  NYPD officers recovered a syringe and a pink glassine bag with no stamp or other distinctive marking next to Mr. Azimi’s body.  NYPD also recovered Mr. Azimi’s cellphone.

The NYPD was able to trace the last three completed calls that Mr. Azimi made before he overdosed on November 30, 2017 to a cellphone used by LYONS.  Through surveillance, the NYPD learned that LYONS continued to sell fentanyl and heroin in the vicinity of the School.  In February 2018, the NYPD made undercover buys of fentanyl and heroin from LYONS in close proximity to the School.  The fentanyl and heroin purchased from LYONS was packaged in the same unique pink glassine bags as the one that was found next to Mr. Azimi’s body.

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In addition to the prison term, LYONS, 33, of the Bronx, New York, was sentenced to five years of supervised release.   

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the NYPD in this case.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Justin V. Rodriguez and Jacob Warren are in charge of the prosecution.

Topic(s): 
Opioids
Contact: 
James Margolin, Nicholas Biase (212) 637-2200
Press Release Number: 
19-381
Updated November 15, 2019