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Press Release

Memphis Man Charged with Distributing a Lethal Dose of Fentanyl

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

Memphis, TN – On June 29, 2017, a federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment against 30-year-old Cortez Armstrong, aka "B.B.," for distribution of a variety of narcotics including fentanyl which resulted in the death of 21-year-old Z.R. Lawrence J. Laurenzi, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced the indictment today.

According to the indictment, on or about October 9, 2016, Armstrong distributed fentanyl to Z.R. The victim’s body was discovered by law enforcement during the early morning hours of October 10, 2016 at 3799 Shelby Drive, Memphis, Tennessee. The cause of Z.R.’s death was determined to be the result of a fentanyl overdose.

"Pursuant to federal law, a person who distributes fentanyl which causes the death of the buyer is criminally responsible for the buyer’s death even though the drug dealer did not intend to harm the buyer. Last year the Mid-South lost far too many lives to drug overdoses. Law enforcement will not sit idly by while the death toll continues to rise," said Acting U.S. Attorney Lawrence J. Laurenzi.

The penalty for distribution of fentanyl where death or serious bodily injury results is not less than 20 years in prison, but if the defendant has a prior felony drug conviction then life.

This case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Memphis Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michelle Kimbril-Parks and J. William Crow are prosecuting this case on the government’s behalf.

Updated June 30, 2017