A Dallas man was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison last week for a 2021 drug trafficking violation that resulted in an overdose death in Rowlett.
U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs made the announcements on Monday, May 22, according to a news release.
Robel Habtemariam, 20, was sentenced to 168 months after pleading guilty to possession with intent to manufacture and distribute fentanyl.
“As long as fentanyl plagues our community and causes tragic, unnecessary deaths, we will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute overdose cases. [Last] Friday’s sentencing … sends a clear message that this Office and our state and federal law enforcement partners will continue to prosecute and hold accountable dealers who distribute this poison, exploit addictions, and cause senseless deaths in the Eastern District of Texas,” Diggs said.
Law enforcement officers with the Rowlett Police Department received a call about an unconscious person in a parking lot on March 16, 2021. When officers arrived at the scene, they found the victim lying on the ground. He was given Narcan and taken to a hospital, where he died.
Law enforcement investigated the death and discovered that Habtemariam gave the victim a pill and left the scene before police arrived. During a search of Habtemariam’s vehicle, “officers found 25 pills that appeared to be Oxycodone but were later determined to be ‘pressed’ pills containing Fentanyl,” according to the release.
During the investigation, officers determined that Habtemariam gave the victim one of the pills, causing an overdose.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, the unknowing consumption of fentanyl has become a big problem in North Texas, most recently in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, where more than a dozen students overdosed on “pressed” pills in the last year.
Drug trafficking is also rampant in Dallas, which saw year-over-year spikes in documented drug offenses last month in several parts of the city, with the biggest one logged in Council Member Omar Narvaez’s District 6.
Eduardo A. Chávez, special agent in charge of the DEA office in Dallas, expressed his thoughts on the arrest and the current fentanyl scourge plaguing North Texas.
“Mr. Habtemariam will spend the next 14 years in federal prison because of one deadly pill. Because of that same pill, a life was lost and families have been forever changed,” Chávez said, per the news release.