A Reston man was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Wednesday (April 21) for selling fentanyl to an individual who later succumbed to a fatal overdose on the drug.
Peter Andrew Romm, 36, regularly traveled to Baltimore to purchase heroin and fentanyl, which he sold in Northern Virginia, according to federal court documents.
Court documents identified one of Romm’s customers as “N.G.,” the individual who suffered the fatal overdose after consuming fentanyl purchased through a middleman, Tyler Huston, 28, on Oct. 7, 2019. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that N.G. died by acute fentanyl poisoning.
“The defendant’s fentanyl trafficking significantly endangered our communities and caused victim N.G. to suffer a tragic overdose,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Raj Parekh said in a press release.
“While no prosecution can bring victim N.G. back to his family and loved ones, we hope that this case has brought some measure of peace and closure to them, all of whom deserve justice and healing for their devastating loss.”
Romm was arrested on Feb. 11, 2020 upon returning from Baltimore while in possession of approximately 75 capsules of fentanyl. Romm admitted to selling fentanyl in Northern Virginia, including to N.G. through a middleman, during a post-arrest interview with law enforcement.
Romm was arrested again eight days later, along with his girlfriend and co-conspirator Donnetta Ferguson. They were again returning from Baltimore, and 72 capsules of fentanyl were discovered in Romm’s vehicle, according to the press release.
Romm pleaded guilty on Nov. 4 to one count of conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and 400 grams or more of fentanyl, as well as one count of distribution of fentanyl. He accepted a plea agreement that required a minimum of 10 years in prison. He also admitted to distributing the fentanyl that caused N.G.’s death, as a part of the plea agreement.
Huston and Ferguson also pleaded guilty to charges related to their roles in the conspiracy. Huston was sentenced on Dec. 16 to 28 months in prison for brokering the deal that resulted in N.G.’s fatal overdose on fentanyl.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine E. Rumbaugh and former Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Karolina Klyuchnikova prosecuted the case. U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga sentenced Romm.
A Reston man pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday (Wednesday) to an elaborate identity theft and fraud scheme that included the creation of counterfeit COVID-19 stimulus checks, the Department of Justice announced.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, which prosecuted the case at the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, 38-year-old Jonathan Drew stole mail addressed to more than 150 individuals in Fairfax County between approximately December 2019 and August 2020.
He used the stolen mail — which included bank statements, credit cards, credit card statements, W-2 forms, and more than $700,000 in checks — to open bank accounts, lease an apartment, and conduct other fraudulent transactions involving counterfeit and forged checks, wire transfers, and the unauthorized use of credit cards.
Among the stolen checks was an Economic Impact Payment check sent by the IRS as part of the federal COVID-19 relief efforts. Drew used that stolen check to create counterfeit stimulus checks ranging in amount from $1,200 to $2,400. He also managed to negotiate “his own authentically issued stimulus check twice,” according to the DOJ.
Drew pleaded guilty to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. The plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga and announced by several local and federal officials, including interim Fairfax County Police Chief David Rohrer.
“We are firmly committed to holding accountable fraudsters who engage in identity theft and exploit a national economic crisis for personal gain at the expense of hardworking members of our communities,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Raj Parekh said.
Drew has been scheduled for sentencing on August 25. He faces up to 32 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of two years.
Eugene Asomani Williams, also known as “Shine,” 35, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Alexandria on Friday for conspiring to distribute heroin and possessing a firearm in furtherance of this offense. Prosecutors said at least three people died in Fairfax County as a result of heroin distributed by Williams.
“Williams peddled a dangerous drug and inflicted untold damage to the victims, their families, and our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente. “This case exemplifies the cooperative efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement to combat this pernicious crime.”
Williams pleaded guilty on Jan. 22 of this year to conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of cocaine and possession of a firearm during and in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. In a statement filed with the plea agreement, Williams admitted to distributing more than one kilogram of heroin in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia between 2004 and Sept. 26, 2013.
Williams also admitted that Joshua Pearson, 33, of Fairfax County; Timothy Huffman, 23, an active duty soldier at Fort Belvoir; and Kara Schachinger, 22, of Fairfax County. all died as a result of using heroin distributed by Williams, said Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring.
“I have heard firsthand from families about the devastation brought by the loss of a loved one in this wave of heroin-related deaths, and about the strain placed on law enforcement and healthcare professionals as they work to respond to it,” Herring said in a statement.
“Education, prevention and treatment will play a major part in dealing with this emerging threat, but I will also ensure that my office is doing all it can to keep these dangerous drugs, and those who distribute them, off the streets.”
Huffman, Pearson and Schachinger did not know each other, The Washington Post reported. They are linked only because they purchased drugs from Williams.
According to the Post, Williams sold throughout the D.C. area, generally charging $100 for a gram of heroin and meeting customers in the parking lots of gas stations, restaurants and churches, court records show. Schachinger and Huffman met Williams in person to buy their last doses; Pearson got his through a friend, the records show.
“Fairfax County is safer today thanks to the robust partnerships between local, state, and federal law enforcement” said Fairfax County Police Chief Colonel Edwin C. Roessler, Jr. “Today’s sentencing is proof positive these partnerships work against drug traffickers and others who set up criminal enterprises in our region.”