Three Utah men face federal charges after prosecutors say they provided the synthetic drug that caused a 22-year-old West Haven man’s fatal overdose earlier this year.
Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Utah say the charges are part of a “renewed emphasis” to help reduce opioid deaths by seeking to punish drug dealers whose product cause a fatal overdose.
The defendants — Adam Hemmelgarn, 37, Tyrell Jabbar Perry, 20, and Christian Scott Jimerson, 19 — were indicted last week on charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances resulting in an overdose death. They were also charged with distribution of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid.
The charges were filed in connection to the death of Jaydon Rogers, who was found unresponsive in his home March 12. He died in a hospital two days later.
The case is part of a push from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to the Utah prosecutor’s office, who has asked federal prosecutors to take every step they can to help reduce opioid deaths.
“We all share responsibility in helping our communities rise above this epidemic,” U.S. Attorney for Utah John Huber said in a Monday statement. “Within that space, surely the drug dealers and providers have culpability. Our efforts, like those in other federal districts, will track back from an overdose death to find those responsible for providing the drugs that led to the death. Drug dealers and traffickers will be held responsible.”
Charging documents do not detail how Rogers allegedly got the drugs from the three men.
If convicted, the men could face a potential penalty of life in prison with a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence.
A summons to appear in court has been issued for Perry and Jimerson. Hemmelgarn, who also faces firearm-related charges, was arrested Thursday. He pleaded not guilty the following day.