One Massachusetts man was sentenced to 12 and one-half years in prison for fentanyl possession with the intent to distribute. The 32-year-old man was arrested in 2017 after a drug overdose took the life of a 27-year-old man in Brunswick, Maine. The hefty sentence reflects the court’s contention that his activity was linked to the man’s death. After the death of the 27-year-old, police used his mobile phones to track down the person who seemed to be his drug dealer, given that the man was unaware of the death. The man used a pseudonym on Facebook Messenger, but police attempted to bring him to Maine for another drug transaction.

A police officer ordered 20 grams of drugs to be brought to Maine the next day. When the man arrived in a vehicle with Massachusetts plates, police stopped the car and searched the men inside. The 32-year-old was a passenger. At the time of his arrest, he admitted to having fentanyl, a very strong opiate, in his shoe and his pants. Police say that they seized 19 grams of fentanyl from the man at the time of the stop. They also cited lab tests saying that the drugs they confiscated included a mixture of fentanyl with other substances.

Fentanyl is most commonly used as an additive to heroin in order to increase its potency. It is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine and can be deadly, especially in large quantities. While the man was not convicted directly for the death of the 27-year-old, the high sentence reflected the argument of the prosecution that fentanyl dealing can be particularly deadly.

A conviction on Drug charges can lead to lengthy prison sentences and steep fines. People who are accused of drug crimes can work with a criminal defense attorney to challenge police assertions and evidence.