We have previously written that drugs such as heroin have found their way into Wisconsin’s suburban communities as well as major cities. Once considered too “hard” by many casual users, the supply of heroin coming from cartels in Mexico has become so pure in recent years that it can be ingested in a number of ways that do not involve needle injection.

As such, use of heroin has skyrocketed in popularity, and fatal heroin overdoses have followed the trend. In 2011, there were 180 drug overdose deaths in Milwaukee County alone, and many were related to heroin. In response to these fatal incidents, law enforcement is trying to move up the supply chain, and Wisconsin drug dealers are increasingly facing charges of homicide as well as drug trafficking.

Earlier this month, a 23-year-old Waukesha man was sentenced to six years in prison and seven years of additional extended supervision for supplying the heroin that killed a 19-year-old woman last year. A 34-year-old Milwaukee man who originally supplied the defendant with heroin was sentenced to 14 years in prison plus another 10 years of extended supervision.

The deceased victim had been clean for approximately six months prior to her fatal overdose. But she contacted the 23-year-old defendant in order to buy some heroin on the night before starting her new job. The defendant warned her that the product was of “OD quality,” which it truly proved to be.

Authorities were able to use text messages from the victim’s phone to track down the man who sold her the heroin. This investigation presumably led law enforcement to the 34-year-old Milwaukee defendant. Both men eventually pleaded guilty to first-degree reckless homicide by delivery of drugs and were subsequently sentenced.

Taking illegal drugs is a personal choice that each user makes on his or her own. Nonetheless, street drugs are becoming stronger and deadlier, and authorities are imposing increasingly harsh sentences on those responsible for providing the fatal supply. That’s why any Wisconsin resident facing drug charges may wish to seek the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney.

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Dealer, middleman sentenced in fatal heroin OD case,” Bruce Vielmetti, Aug. 16, 2012

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