North Carolina man sentenced to more than 13 years in prison for heroin, fentanyl distribution in wake of overdose death

Published 5:43 am Wednesday, February 15, 2023

A Burlington man was sentenced Wednesday, February 8, 2023 to 160 months in prison for distribution of heroin and fentanyl, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Eastern District of North Carolina. Justin Kyle Tripp, 38, pleaded guilty to the charge on June 8, 2022. The investigation into Tripp began after a purchase tied to him resulted in an overdose death.

“Fentanyl is a dangerous synthetic drug that is driving the overdose epidemic and killing far too many Americans,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina Michael Easley. “We are targeting the drug dealers and criminal networks selling fentanyl and lacing their drug supply – fueling addiction and overdose deaths.”

According to court documents and other information presented in court, Tripp was responsible for the distribution of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl. “In June of 2020, officers with Raleigh Police Department were dispatched to a Raleigh residence for a reported death. An empty heroin bindle, a spoon and a used syringe were observed nearby the deceased victim,” stated the release. “A review of the victim’s phone revealed a conversation between the victim and Tripp reflecting an arrangement for the victim to purchase heroin from Tripp. The victim’s cause of death was determined to be acute fentanyl and heroin intoxication. Law enforcement later obtained a search warrant for Tripp’s residence where they found a mixture of heroin and fentanyl, a digital scale and multiple empty heroin bindles.”

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Easley made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle. The Raleigh Police Department investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly L. Sandling prosecuted.