Drug Enforcement Administration


Keith Martin , Special Agent in Charge

January 13, 2017

Contact: Brian McNeal

Phone Number: (571) 362-1498

Kentucky Man Faces Life In Prison After Convicted By Jury Of Distributing Fentanyl Resulting In Death

LEXINGTON, Ky. - A Lexington man faces life in prison after a jury convicted him of distributing fentanyl that resulted in the overdose death of a 37 year-old Fayette County, Kentucky, resident.

On Thursday, January 12th, 2017, Joshua Donald Ewing, 28, was convicted of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death.  The jury returned the verdict after seven hours of deliberation following two days of trial.  Because of Ewing’s criminal history, he is subject to a mandatory life sentence under the federal overdose death law.  Sentencing is scheduled for February 6th, 2017.  

“The drug dealers who sell heroin and fentanyl in our communities know full well that, sooner or later, the result of their criminal conduct is likely a tragic and unnecessary death,” said Kerry B. Harvey, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky.  “All of us owe a debt of gratitude to the local and federal law enforcement officers who do the hard work that has made our Overdose Prosecution Initiative so successful.”

According to evidence presented at trial, in February of 2016, Ewing sold fentanyl to Jeremy Deaton, who was expecting heroin.  Deaton consumed the drug, and died of an overdose.  A toxicologist testified that, had it not been for the fentanyl, Deaton would not have died.  The toxicologist further testified that Deaton had more than five times the therapeutic range of fentanyl in his blood.

Ewing was on probation for possession of heroin at the time he sold the fentanyl to Deaton.

U.S. Attorney Harvey; Timothy J. Plancon Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’(DEA) Detroit Division; and Mark Barnard, Chief of Lexington Police, jointly made the announcement.

The investigation was conducted by the Lexington Police and the DEA.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Bradbury prosecuted this case on behalf of the federal government.

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