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Press Release

Fentanyl Dealer Responsible For Two Drug Overdoses Is Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Megan Emily Tate, 29, of Sylva, N.C., was sentenced today to 20 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release, for distributing a substance that contained fentanyl and caused two overdoses, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which oversees North Carolina, and Sheriff Doug Farmer of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.

“Fentanyl is a highly potent substance that can quickly cause accidental drug poisoning. In many instances, victims do not know they are ingesting a potentially deadly drug until it’s too late,” said U.S. Attorney King. “The surge in fentanyl distribution is affecting families and communities everywhere. Law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local level are committed to dismantling fentanyl networks and holding accountable those who engage in the distribution of this dangerous drug.”

“Fentanyl is extremely dangerous and leaves behind a trail of devastation. Ms. Tate obviously had total disregard for the safety of others,” said Special Agent in Charge Murphy.

According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, in April 2021, deputies with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office arrested Tate for suspected distribution of fentanyl. While Tate was in custody at the Jackson County Detention Center, she supplied two inmates with fentanyl, causing them to overdose. As a result, both overdose victims were transported to the hospital and one victim was placed on a ventilator. Both victims later recovered from their drug overdose. According to court documents, over the course of the investigation into the drug overdose incidents, law enforcement determined that Tate had supplied each victim with a substance that contained fentanyl, which Tate had concealed and later retrieved from her body cavity while in the detention center.

According to the DEA, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl remains the deadliest drug threat in the United States. According to the CDC, more than 100,000 people in the United States died of drug overdoses and drug poisonings in the 12-month period ending in January 2022. Sixty-seven percent of those deaths involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Some of these deaths were attributed to fentanyl mixed with other illicit drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin, with many users unaware they were actually taking fentanyl.

On January 30, 2023, Tate pleaded guilty to distribution of a mixture of substance containing fentanyl. She is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.

In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King thanked the DEA’s Asheville Post of Duty and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office for their investigation of this case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Kent of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte prosecuted the case.      

Updated April 20, 2023

Drug Trafficking