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Press Release

Marion Man Sentenced for Possessing Fentanyl with Intent to Distribute

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

ABINGDON, Va. – A Marion, Virginia man was sentenced this week to 48 months in prison for possession with the intent to distribute the deadly drug fentanyl.

Dakota Shadoe Tunnell, 21, pleaded guilty in November 2021 to one count of possessing with the intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl.

According to court documents, Tunnell became known to law enforcement in early 2021 when a flood of illegal pills began showing up in Smyth County, Virginia. The pills resembled a pharmaceutical preparation of oxycodone-hydrochloride pills, but were inconsistent in size, shape, and color as compared to pharmaceutical-grade pills.  Pills of this type are sometimes referred to as “Roxicodone,” “pressed,” or “M30” pills because they have an imprint of an “M” on one side and a “30” on the other side.

During the investigation, law enforcement determined that Tunnell had been purchasing 300 to 500 pills at a time from his supplier and redistributing them in the Marion, Virginia area.  On September 5, 2021, law enforcement executed a controlled purchase of approximately 100 pills from Tunnell for $1,700, and subsequently arrested him.

U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh of the Western District of Virginia announced the sentence today.

The Smyth County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Whit D. Pierce prosecuted the case.

Updated January 27, 2022