CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A Highland Heights man was sentenced to 12 years in prison for selling furanyl fentanyl that resulted in the fatal overdose of a Cleveland teen.
Alec J. Steinberger, 22, was also ordered to pay $10,548 to the family of the deceased to pay for his funeral expenses.
Steinberger previously pleaded guilty to distribution of a controlled substance that resulted in death, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, attempted possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and use of a communication facility in furtherance of a drug offense.
On Jan. 30, 2016, Steinberger received Alprazolam (also known as Xanax) and furanyl fentanyl for distribution. Furanyl fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid. These drugs came to Steinberger through the mail, according to court documents.
On Feb. 23, 2016, Steinberger texted an associate: "I just got a pack bro." He also informed several people that he had drugs for sale, including Laith Hudson.
Steinberger texted Hudson repeatedly the next day. Messages included: "Bro, I did it last night and my pupils got so small they disappeared and then I was nodding for 18 hrs," "Bro this is uncut from the road" and "this is uncut from China," according to court documents.
Steinberger then repeatedly texted Hudson if he knew anyone that could cut or dilute the drugs and repackage it for sale. Steinberger texted: "We gonna chill tmr" "and go to the hood and give samples" and "try and find out how to cut and re-rock," according to court documents.
Shortly after midnight on Feb. 25, Steinberger texted Hudson: "Find me customers and tell them you're the plug and I'll get it to you and then sell it and cut u in a tiny bit and throw u a free (Klonopin) and dope," according to court documents.
On Feb. 25, Hudson fatally overdosed on furanyl fentanyl he bought from Steinberger, according to court documents.
"This case is another example of one of our neighbors dying from opioids coming to Northeast Ohio from China," said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman.
"Investigators of the Heroin Death Investigation Team are trained to investigate heroin overdose cases and link the victims back to the dealers," said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams.