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Justice News

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

Friday, October 24, 2014

Winchester Man Sentenced For Distributing Fatal Heroin

Tyler Clements Will Serve 264 Months In Federal Prison

HARRISONBURG, VIRGINIA – A Winchester man, who distributed heroin to two local residents who later died of heroin overdoses, was sentenced this week in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Harrisonburg.

Tyler Christian Clements, 25, of Winchester, Va., previously pled guilty to two counts that stemmed from the distribution of heroin resulting in serious bodily injury and death. The two heroin overdose deaths took place on August 16, 2013 and September 23, 2013. Today in District Court, Clements was sentenced to 264 months of federal incarceration.

“The epidemic of heroin abuse has infected many communities in the Western District of Virginia,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “We will continue to react to the scourge of heroin in our communities by apprehending and incarcerating those who bring this poison into our communities. At the same time, we must continue to support education, prevention and treatment programs. Only a comprehensive approach which couples targeted enforcement with aggressive prevention will be effective.”

“This investigation was about the tragic deaths of two people whose lives were ended far too soon. Today, Mr. Clements will begin to pay the price for his actions. He will no longer be able to sell this poison to members of this community,” said Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Karl C. Colder. “The sentencing of Mr. Clements is the result of the hard work and dedication of DEA and its state and local law enforcement counterparts. Our message is simple: DEA will relentlessly pursue those individuals that cause these senseless deaths. We will continue to work closely with our partners in targeting and dismantling heroin trafficking networks operating in Frederick County.”

Clements previously admitted to traveling to Baltimore and purchasing heroin. He returned to the Winchester area and sold the heroin he purchased in Baltimore to individuals who later used the drug provided by Clements and died as a result of heroin overdoses. Local and federal law enforcement worked with their counterparts in Baltimore and identified his source of the heroin.

On August 16, 2013, Clements sold heroin that he had purchased in Baltimore to Derek Lee Spouse. Mr. Spouse used the heroin and died as a result of a heroin overdose. The medical examiner concluded that the cause of Mr. Spouse’s death was “adverse effect of ethanol and heroin.” The medical examiner also determined that, in his opinion, “without the heroin, Mr. Spouse would not have died.”

Less than two months later, on September 24, 2013, Clements again went to Baltimore and purchased heroin. He returned to Winchester where he distributed it to an unnamed victim who used the drugs provided by Clements and later died of a heroin overdose. In this case, after the victim overdosed, Clements removed from the scene and disposed of evidence, including needles and other drug paraphernalia, before emergency personnel and law enforcement had arrived. The medical examiner determined that the victim died as a result of “acute heroin poisoning.”

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force, which includes the Virginia State Police, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Task Force includes law enforcement from the counties of Frederick, Clarke, Shenandoah, Warren and Page as well as the cities and towns of Winchester, Front Royal and Strasburg.

Updated April 15, 2015