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Press Release

Detroit Man Pleads Guilty to Fentanyl Distribution

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

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- A Detroit, Michigan man pled guilty yesterday to a federal drug charge, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. Octavius Ellis, 23, entered a guilty plea today to knowingly and intentionally distributing fentanyl.  Stuart praised the work of the Huntington Police Department.

“Fentanyl is the deadliest drug in the country,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “So far in 2018, we have seized enough fentanyl to kill more than 1.6 million West Virginians.  That is why my team will prosecute every fentanyl dealer law enforcement identifies.”

On January 19, 2018, officers with the Huntington Police Department’s Special Emphasis Unit utilized a confidential informant to arrange a controlled buy of heroin from Ellis. Ellis arrived at the buy location in the West End of Huntington and provided the confidential informant with a substance he represented to be heroin in exchange for $70. Testing by the West Virginia State Police Lab confirmed the substance to actually be fentanyl. 

Ellis faces up to 20 years when he is sentenced on March 18, 2019.

Assistant United States Attorney Monica D. Coleman is handling the prosecution. The plea hearing was held before United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers.

Fentanyl is a powerful, synthetic narcotic that works on the brain like other opioids, such as  morphine or heroin, but is 50 to 100 times more potent, and can easily cause an overdose. According to a report released by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fentanyl surpassed heroin as the deadliest drug in the United States, taking more than 18,000 lives in 2016.

This case is being prosecuted as part of Operation Synthetic Opioid Surge (S.O.S.), an enforcement surge that seeks to reduce the supply of deadly synthetic opioids in high impact areas.


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Updated December 13, 2018

Drug Trafficking