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Press Release

Cincinnati man sentenced to 16 years in prison for selling fentanyl to high school student

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

CINCINNATI – A Cincinnati man was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 192 months in prison for distributing fentanyl that caused the near-fatal overdose of a high school student.


In March 2019, Marcus Phoenix, 33, sold a teenager fentanyl. Court documents detail that the overdose victim had texted Phoenix and requested $20 worth of “fire.” The high schooler believed “fire” to be Percocet, which he/she had purchased from Phoenix in the past.


The teenager overdosed and, after two doses of Narcan failed to stop the overdose’s effects, emergency room doctors performed life-saving surgery. Ultimately, the overdose victim was on life support in a medically induced coma for a week before regaining consciousness. In all, the overdose victim was hospitalized for nearly two weeks and required extensive physical therapy to regain the ability to walk and perform other daily tasks.


“When teens seek out prescription opioids, they are often in fact buying counterfeit versions, which increasingly contain fentanyl,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker. “My office will continue to identify, investigate and prosecute those responsible for putting deadly drugs in the hands of our youth.”


Subsequent law enforcement investigation revealed that Phoenix, who was on probation at the time for a local aggravated drug trafficking conviction, continued to sell fentanyl in March and April 2019. While conducting a search warrant at Phoenix’s apartment in June 2019, investigators discovered 20 grams of fentanyl and drug trafficking paraphernalia.


Phoenix was arrested on federal charges in June 2019 and pleaded guilty in May 2021.


Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Orville O. Greene, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration; Lt. Col. Charles A Jones, Superintendent, Ohio State Highway Patrol; West Chester Police Chief Joel Herzog; and other members of the Hamilton County Heroin Task Force announced the sentence imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Matthew W. McFarland. Assistant United States Attorneys Kelly K. Rossi and Timothy D. Oakley are representing the United States in this case.


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Updated November 2, 2022

Drug Trafficking