WASHINGTON – A brother and sister were arrested yesterday on charges stemming from an investigation by federal and local law enforcement agencies into a drug operation that was distributing Fentanyl, including to a woman who overdosed twice, once leading to her death.
The indictments, which were unsealed today, were announced by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Division Office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Robert J. Contee III, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Larry Jerome Eastman, 21, of Temple Hills, Maryland, and his sister, Justice Michelle Eastman, 25, of Washington, D.C. were arrested following an investigation into the Fentanyl overdose death of a woman in Washington, D.C. They are charged in an indictment with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute Fentanyl, unlawful distribution of Fentanyl, resulting in serious bodily injury, and unlawful distribution of Fentanyl, resulting in death. The indictment was returned on Jan. 18, 2022, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Both defendants made their initial court appearances this afternoon and were ordered held pending further proceedings.
“As this case demonstrates, Fentanyl continues to have a devastating impact on our community,” said U.S. Attorney Graves. “We are committed to identifying and prosecuting those who distribute Fentanyl and other illicit drugs and doing all we can to prevent future tragedies.”
“Charges like this, demonstrate our commitment to combatting the alarming number of drug overdose-related deaths, and our shared, tough stance on drug dealers peddling this poison to unwitting victims across our city,” said Special Agent in Charge Forget. “We are working with our area partners every day to root out the drug problem at its source and target drug dealers who deal overdose-prone drugs to our area’s most vulnerable. By pursuing ‘death resulting’ charges, we seek to hold those who poison us with Fentanyl accountable for the violent crimes they are knowingly committing in our communities.”
The indictments followed an investigation into the April 6, 2021, death of a 20-year-old woman in Southeast Washington from acute Fentanyl intoxication. According to the government’s evidence, the same woman survived an earlier overdose in the fall of 2020; she was revived that time when paramedics administered Narcan. At the time of the fatal overdose, a white powder was discovered by police on a glass-topped coffee table at the woman’s apartment and later determined to be Fentanyl. As noted by the DEA, because of its potency and low cost, drug dealers nationally have been mixing Fentanyl with other drugs including heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine, increasing the likelihood of a fatal interaction.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute Fentanyl carries a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison. Unlawful distribution of Fentanyl, resulting in serious bodily injury or death, carries a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of not less than 20 years with a maximum of life. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The case is being investigated by the Washington Division Office of the DEA and the Metropolitan Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David T. Henek, of the Violent Crime and Narcotics Trafficking Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.
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