A man from Breckenridge, Colorado, the United States was sentenced for ordering fentanyl from the dark web, which he shared with his brother and a friend, who later died from the overdose of the controlled substance.
The 22-year-old Christopher Malcolm purchased the synthetic opioid fentanyl from the darknet, which he supplied to two others, who later died from the fatal use of the drug. The defendant was originally charged with two counts of negligent homicide, however, he later pleaded guilty to the distribution of a controlled substance.
According to Malcolm’s confession, he purchased fentanyl, the powerful synthetic opioid that was responsible for numerous deaths all over the world and opioid crises in multiple countries, from the dark web in late 2015. When the package with the narcotics arrived, he shared the dangerous substance with his brother, Michael, and a friend, Dylan Randall, who both fatally overdosed within hours of each other on September 26. Toxicology reports later showed that the two victims had nearly three times the fatal amounts of fentanyl in their systems. The report also showed that in addition to the synthetic opioid, cocaine was found in the bodies. According to the prosecution, Malcolm supplied a “mixture” of fentanyl and cocaine to his brother and the friend, that’s why both drugs were found in the systems of the victims. Fentanyl is considered as 40 to 50 times stronger than heroin.
Law enforcement authorities arrested Malcolm in June on a warrant for criminally negligent homicide and unlawful distribution, manufacturing, and dispensing or sale of controlled substances, the prosecution stated.
“The prosecution of drug suppliers whose actions result in the death of users continues to be a high priority for this office,” District Attorney Bruce Brown said in a statement. Brown added that the Summit County Sheriff’s Office was in charge of the “difficult and complex” investigation, which they performed with “great expertise and compassion”.
At the Thursday hearing of the defendant, both the families of Dylan Randall and Michael Malcolm spoke about their unfortunate grief, the District Attorney’s Office informed. According to the press release, Chief Judge Mark Thompson said that opioid overdoses are part of the epidemic the United States currently faces, however, the source of the drugs has to “start somewhere”. Judge Thompson stated that acquiring and sharing narcotics has consequences, however, when these crimes have fatal consequences, such as overdose deaths, “the factors” become more significant. The judge emphasized that Malcolm and other drug users have to realize that there are consequences when they purchase and use narcotics.
Judge Thompson sentenced Malcolm to five years in a community corrections facility. Shortly, the 22-year-old will be sent to the Hilltop House in Durango, a corrections center for felons where residents must pay rent and find a job in the community while they participate in rehabilitation programs.
“To users, these drugs are irresistible, even in the face of death,” District Attorney Brown said in the press release. “Today’s sentence doesn’t punish but hopefully deters.” Brown added that his office will continue to use all available resource to work with both the courts and law enforcement authorities in order to address such issues. Brown emphasized the importance that the community should keep an open eye, and should be aware of the “horror that is occurring daily”.