BREAKING News Out Of CLEVELAND…DEAD

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Cleveland man indicted for selling cocaine laced with opioids that caused fatal overdose this summer

A Cleveland man was indicted in federal court for selling drugs that resulted in a fatal overdose of a man inside a hotel in downtown Cleveland in July.

Terry Lee Christian, 35, was indicted Wednesday on one count of distribution of controlled substances, which included a potential sentencing enhancement for causing death. He was also indicted on one count of using a phone to facilitate a felony drug offense.

Christian was arrested Monday and remains in custody.

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Christian is accused of causing the death of a person identified in court papers as S.K. on July 13.

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“This case is yet another reminder that any drug people are buying likely contains fentanyl, which can kill even in very small doses,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said. “By all accounts, the victim in this case believed he was buying cocaine, not opioids. This epidemic is cutting across all demographics and people need to understand there is no safe amount of drugs that can be used recreationally.”

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“This case highlights the collaboration between the Cleveland Division of Police Heroin Death Investigators, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Cuyahoga County Regional Forensic Science Laboratory and the Northern Ohio United States District Attorney’s Office,” said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin D. Williams. “The indictment of Mr. Christian should serve as an example to those trafficking in these dangerous and deadly narcotics.  Through thorough investigations and the efforts of the attorneys who prosecute the cases, these criminals can be held accountable at the highest level.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge Timothy Plancon said: “This death underscores the seriousness of the opioid crisis plaguing northern Ohio and the need for dedicated collaboration from law enforcement. The DEA, Cleveland Division of Police and the United States Attorney’s Office will continue to expend our time, energy and resources in an effort to stem the tide against this epidemic.”

Members of the Cleveland Division of Police’s Heroin Involved Death Investigations Unit responded to a drug overdose at a hotel room in Cleveland on July 14. Officers observed a bag of suspected cocaine on the dresser and suspected cocaine residue on the dresser and bathroom vanity, according to an affidavit filed in the case.

The narcotics were tested and found to be a mixture of heroin, cocaine and fentanyl. The packaging material was tested and DNA found on the package matched Christian, according to the affidavit.

A review of the victim’s phone and other evidence revealed the man who overdosed met with Christian on July 13 and several calls between them on that day. Shortly after the calls and meeting, the man who ovedosed made a hand-to-hand transaction with someone in a minivan, according to the affidavit.

This case was investigated by the Cleveland Division of Police and Drug Enforcement Administration. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vasile Katsaros.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal records, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

An indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

SOURCE- THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (DOJ)

U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

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