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Press Release

Two Erie Residents Indicted on Drug Charges Resulting in Death

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania
First Cases Brought in Erie under the Federal Drug Distribution Resulting in Death or Serious Bodily Injury Statute

ERIE, Pa. – A federal grand jury in Erie, Pennsylvania, has returned separate indictments charging two Erie residents with violating federal drug laws, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

"To combat the deadly opioid epidemic, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will use every lawful tool in our arsenal to identify and prosecute drug traffickers whose products poison our citizens," stated U.S. Attorney Brady. "The federal statute pertaining to drug distribution resulting in serious bodily injury or death carries a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence and up to life in prison. Severe penalties are warranted when drug dealers knowingly distribute drugs that kill our fellow citizens."

Erie County District Attorney Jack Daneri added, "Local law enforcement in this county will continue to work closely with our federal partners to put maximum effort at addressing the opioid overdose epidemic. We will continue to work with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorney, and we will make referrals for federal prosecution where the facts warrant."

A seven-count indictment, returned yesterday, named Damon Dupree Henderson, aka Dee, aka Db, age 28, as the sole defendant.

According to the indictment presented to the court, Henderson sold a quantity of fentanyl and a quantity of cocaine that caused the death of R.R.T. on June 15, 2017. The indictment also charges Henderson with possessing with intent to distribute various amounts of heroin, fentanyl, a heroin/fentanyl mixture, cocaine, and crack cocaine on or about June 20, 2017.

A three-count indictment, also returned yesterday, named Derrick Lamont Hemphill, Sr., aka G, aka Shelly, age 27, as the sole defendant.

According to the indictment presented to the court, Hemphill sold fentanyl that caused the death of K.A.J. on November 26, 2017. The indictment also alleges that on November 26, 2017, Hemphill possessed with intent to distribute fentanyl and a heroin/fentanyl mixture.

For Henderson, the law provides for a maximum total sentence of life in prison, a fine of $12,000,000, or both. For Hemphill, the law provides for a maximum total sentence of life in prison, a fine of $3,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Marshall J. Piccinini is prosecuting these cases on behalf of the government.

The Erie County District Attorney’s Office County Detective Bureau, the Erie County District Attorney’s Office Drug Task Force, the Millcreek Township Police Department, and the Erie Police Department, with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration, conducted the investigation leading to the indictments in these cases.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated April 12, 2018

Drug Trafficking