Drug Enforcement Administration

New York

James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge

August 22, 2017

Contact: Erin Mulvey

Phone Number: (212) 337-3900

Anthony Vita Receives Fifteen-Year Prison Sentence In Fentanyl-Laced Heroin Death

SYRACUSE, NY - Anthony Vita, 37, of Syracuse, New York, was sentenced today to serve 15 years in prison for distributing a controlled substance, announced Acting United States Attorney Grant Jaquith and James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement (DEA).  The fentanyl-laced heroin sold by Vita led to the November 7, 2015 death of the victim, a 24-year old woman who was five months pregnant.  The defendant’s sentence also included a 15-year term of supervised release following his term of imprisonment. “Today’s sentence holds the defendant accountable for killing a 24-year-old pregnant woman by selling her a deadly mix of heroin laced with fentanyl when she had not used heroin for five months. For 15 years, there will be no more victims of the heroin hawked by Anthony Vita.  However, this victim’s family will always have to endure the loss of a beloved daughter and an unborn child.  We hope dealers will see the danger of death in their distribution of opioids and those suffering from addiction will seek and find the support and assistance they need to stop using them.  We will continue to bring federal charges against those who peddle this poison, to pursue just punishments and prevent future tragedies,” said Acting United States Attorney Grant Jaquith.

DEA Special Agent in Charge James Hunt stated, “This sentence is significant because not only has it put a drug trafficker behind bars, but it is a reminder to the public of how dangerous heroin is today.  As evident in this case, it has become common practice among drug traffickers to mix heroin with fentanyl, which has resulted in a significant increase of drug overdoses nationwide.  I commend the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the DEA Syracuse Resident Office on their tireless efforts throughout this investigation.” As part of his guilty plea on March 28, 2017, Vita admitted that on November 7, 2015, he sold seven bags of heroin laced with fentanyl to the victim.  Before the sale, the victim told Vita that she had not used heroin in five months and asked him to provide her with a syringe.  As requested, he delivered a syringe and seven bags of the heroin/fentanyl mixture.  She injected the mixture and died due to acute opiate intoxication. 

The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA), Syracuse Resident (with Assistance from DEA Norfolk, Virginia Resident Office), the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department and the Town of (New York) Police Department, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carla Freedman and Tamara Thomson.

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