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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

Monday, April 30, 2018

South Park Man Sentenced for Distributing Fentanyl that Caused his Friend’s Death

PITTSBURGH – An Allegheny County resident has been sentenced in federal court to 5 years’ probation, the first year of which will require him to spend every weekend in jail, on his conviction of violating the federal drug laws, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Chief United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti imposed the sentence on Jacob Palaski, age 28, of Pittsburgh, PA.

According to information presented to the court, on July 9, 2016, Palaski distributed 10 stamp bags containing fentanyl to his friend, Jesse Iwanonkiw. The use of that fentanyl resulted in the overdose death of Mr. Iwanonkiw the following day.

Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Conti acknowledged that the amount of drugs involved in Palaski’s crime was not large, but that when fentanyl is involved "one touch can kill." "Nothing can compensate [the Iwanonkiw family] for the loss of Jesse," Judge Conti stated, and "they will suffer the rest of their lives." As part of his sentence, Palaski was ordered to pay $16,965 in restitution to the Iwanonkiw family for funeral and burial expenses.

Judge Conti also rejected Palaski’s counsel’s request for no incarceration, stressing that a death resulted from Palaski’s actions, and that the crime required "serious consequences." Accordingly, Judge Conti lengthened the probationary sentence from 3 years to 5 years, and imposed intermittent confinement: for the first year of his probation, Palaski must report to jail every Friday evening, and stay in jail until Sunday evening. During the week, Palaski is required to maintain full-time employment, and must fulfill his restitution obligations.

Assistant United States Attorney Troy Rivetti prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

United States Attorney Brady commended the Peters Township Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Jacob Palaski.

Drug Trafficking
Updated April 30, 2018