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Michigan man gets 20 years on drug charge after teen's death

A Michigan teenager's death has led to a prison sentence for a Kalamazoo, Michigan, man who supplied the heroin that killed him. The teenager, however, did not buy the drugs directly from the man who was sentenced this week.

The 41-year-old dealer actually sold the drugs to a third person who supplied the heroin to the teenager. That person faces sentencing of his own next month on an identical charge. The dealer sentenced this week received 20 years for one count of felony distribution of heroin resulting in the death of the 17-year-old -- the same crime the other man pleaded guilty to.

The dealer was originally charged with three other felony charges: two counts of possession with intent to distribute heroin, as well as one count of distribution to a minor resulting in death. However, prosecutors agreed to drop those charges as part of a plea agreement the man reached. At the conclusion of his 20-year federal sentence, the man will be also subject to five years of federal supervision.

This case shows the complexity and severity of federal drug laws. These cases are prosecuted severely and the possible sentences are stiff. The man who was sentenced this week did not supply the drugs directly to the teenager who overdosed. In fact, the other man to whom the drugs were sold may not have sold the heroin to the teenager either. The requirements for the charge are fluid enough that several people up the distribution might be charged and convicted, as happened here.

Source: MLive.com, "Kalamazoo drug dealer sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for teen's heroin-overdose death," Rex Hall Jr., Feb. 21, 2012

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