These days, those people labeled “drug dealers” by the court system can face consequences far more grave than just prison time.
Word on the street is that some judicial figures are now forcing dope pushers to cough up large chunks of change to cover the funeral expenses of overly enthusiastic addicts who have lost their battle with the nod.
It was just days ago that U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett brought down the gavel in Ohio, one of the states most ravaged by the national opioid crisis, convicting a 29-year-old street hustler by the name of Michael Chandler to more than 16 years in prison on charges of drug distribution.
But simply sending this drug dealer to spend almost two decades behind bars with hardcore criminals was not a severe enough punishment in the eyes of the judge. He also ordered Chandler to pay $9,000 to cover a teenager’s funeral.
Last spring, a 17-year-old known as “J.H.” was found dead from an apparent drug overdose in his home located just about 30 minutes outside of Cincinnati, in the modestly populated city of Campbell, Kentucky. An investigation into this death, which was conducted by the Kentucky Drug Task Force, determined the official cause of the teen’s early demise was overindulging in fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a powerful opioid, much more potent than morphine, which is often administered by medical professionals to help control severe pain. However, because the drug is so strong, as it attaches to the same parts of the brain that controls breathing, it can be deadly in even the smallest doses.
Recently, fentanyl has been branded the culprit in thousands of overdose deaths across the nation because street dealers, like Chandler, are using it to cut heroin and other drugs to increase their profits.
This practice has prompted the criminal justice system to come down hard on drug offenders with connections to fentanyl.
During the investigation, police found evidence inside J.H.’s home that the deadly drug had been purchased from someone called “Goldie.” They later set up a sting operation using a friend of the deceased teen in hopes of catching the drug dealer in the act.
To do this, police armed the kid with a wire and sent him in to meet with Goldie to purchase heroin. The substance was then tested by the Hamilton County Coroner’s crime lab and was determined to be fentanyl.
At that point, investigators got all of the necessary paperwork together to go after “Goldie,” a handle used by Michael Chandler. Inside his home, police discovered a significant amount of fentanyl (644 grams), nearly 30 grams of cocaine, guns and ammunition—basically everything they needed to take yet another amateur pharmacist off the streets for a very long time.
A video obtained by the Cincinnati Enquirer shows Chandler slinging dope out of his vehicle in a manner similar to that of a drive-thru at an ordinary fast food restaurant. In fact, Chandler explains in the clip how his method for delivering drugs to the general public is “like McDonalds.”
The video did not set well with prosecutors, especially Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Parker, who called the footage “one of the most appalling things I’ve seen in my nearly 20-year career.”
Although Michael Chandler pleaded guilty to the drug distribution charges, Judge Barrett took the case up a notch by ruling that the defendant was also directly responsible for the death of J.H. It is for this reason that Chandler was also slapped with $9,000 in restitution to cover the cost of his funeral.
“In the end, [J.H.] was nothing more than a customer to Chandler,” reads the sentencing memorandum. “We do consider [Chandler’s] actions abominable, or better put, monstrous.”