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Press Release

Memphis Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison for Distribution of Heroin and Fentanyl Resulting in Death

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

MEMPHIS, TN – Dwayne Tullous, 57, has been sentenced to 240 months in federal prison for distribution of heroin and fentanyl resulting in death. D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney announced the sentence today.

According to information presented in court, on July 30, 2018, victim Larry House was found deceased in his Lakeland, Tennessee residence from a heroin and fentanyl overdose. Investigators from the Shelby County Sheriff's Office and the United States Postal Inspection Service responded to the scene and conducted an investigation which revealed that the victim had been visited by a drug dealer, Tullous, earlier that evening. Tullous sold the victim various amounts of black tar heroin and fentanyl. A few hours later, the victim died from using the heroin and fentanyl distributed to him by the defendant, Tullous.

Investigators with the Postal Inspection Service determined that Tullous received packages from the Los Angeles, California area to a house in Cordova. Upon further investigation and after execution of a search warrant, investigators recovered black tar heroin, fentanyl, a firearm, and oxycodone pills from Tullous' residence. The heroin and fentanyl found at Tullous' residence was wrapped in the same packaging as the substances found at the residence of the victim. An autopsy revealed that the cause of victim's death was a heroin and fentanyl overdose.

On March 12, 2020, Tullous pled guilty, admitting he caused the death of Larry House by distributing heroin and fentanyl to him in July 2018.

On June 25, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Mark S. Norris sentenced Tullous to 20 years imprisonment followed by 3 years supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, "Distribution of illegal narcotics is NOT a victimless crime, and poses an immense threat to public safety. The drug seller, at every level of distribution, is at the root of the pervasive cycle of drug abuse. Measured thus by the harm it inflicts upon the addict, and, through him, upon society as a whole, drug dealing of heroin and fentanyl in its present epidemic proportions is a grave offense of high rank. In order to prevent needless addiction, injury, violence, and death in our communities, we must act with urgency to stop and punish drug dealers that deliver this deadly poison to citizens in West Tennessee. This case demonstrates the significant penalty that we will use to hold dealers accountable, deter others from dealing death to our citizens, and save lives. We commend the outstanding investigative work of our federal and local law enforcement partners, and we hope this sentence will achieve some measure of justice for the House family."

Heroin and fentanyl are extremely dangerous substances that have caused the deaths and non-fatal overdoses of thousands of people every year. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and a dosage less than a grain of table salt is enough to cause death. This year in Shelby County, over 200 people have died and over 2,000 people have suffered a non-fatal overdose as a result of the continued availability and distribution of heroin and fentanyl in our community. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please call the Tennessee Redline for help at 1-800-889-9789, or visit the Memphis Area Prevention Coalition at for information and resources.

This case was investigated by the Shelby County Sheriff's Office and the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Griffith prosecuted this case on behalf of the government. This case was part of the Heroin Initiative in collaboration with the Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office.



Cherri Green
Reentry and Community Outreach Coordinator
(901) 544-4231

Updated June 26, 2020