Parma Heights man charged for selling lethal fentanyl that lead to overdose

PARMA, OHIO – A Parma Heights man has been charged in federal court for selling fentanyl to a Middleburgh Heights man that resulted in a fatal overdose. Marcus L. Sanders, age 23, of Parma Heights, was charged in a superseding five-count indictment with distribution of fentanyl, with a sentencing enhancement alleging the sale resulted in death; possession with intent to distribute fentanyl; possession with intent to distribute heroin fentanyl, N-butyl Pentylone, and cocaine and two counts of possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, on May 3rd, 2020, Middleburg Heights Police responded to a call for a suspected overdose at a residence. Upon arrival, the male overdose victim was treated with Narcan and transported to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Law enforcement searched the victim’s phone and reviewed a series of text messages between the victim and a reoccurring number, later alleged to be the defendant. After reviewing the messages, law enforcement determined that on May 2nd and May 3rd, the victim and the defendant allegedly arranged a drug transaction for narcotics.

On May 18th, law enforcement investigators sent a message to the defendant from the victim’s phone, arranging for the purported purchase of narcotics. Investigators conducted surveillance of the defendant’s residence and observed as he traveled to the victim’s home to complete the transaction. Upon arrival at the victim’s address, the defendant was arrested and searched. The defendant allegedly had in his possession fentanyl, heroin, N-butyl Pentylone, cocaine and marijuana.

An indictment is only a charge 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.

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 record, 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.

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Middleburg Heights Police Department and the DEA. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Lewis.

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