Federal prosecutors have charged an Elyria man with selling fentanyl to an Elyria woman who later died from a drug overdose after using the powerful painkiller.
Siarres “Sizzle” Noble, 29, already had pleaded guilty in state court to drug trafficking, drug possession and other charges in the same November timeframe that is covered in the federal indictment, which was unsealed Wednesday. One of the charges dates to March 2013.
Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge had promised to send Noble to the Lorain/Medina Community Based Correctional Facility when he is sentenced later this year, a move that infuriated Elyria police. Burge, who declined to comment Wednesday, previously has said he thought Noble’s was a fairly routine drug trafficking case when he agreed to the sentence.
The CBCF is a minimum-security facility that works to help convicts with substance and other issues become productive members of society.
Noble faces two counts of distribution of heroin and four counts of distribution of fentanyl in federal court. One of the fentanyl counts carries an enhanced penalty specification that would mandate a prison sentence of 20 year to life if Noble is convicted.
The indictment said Noble sold fentanyl to a woman, who isn’t identified by name in the indictment, Nov. 8. The woman died the next day.
The death was one of several from fentanyl overdoses in November that had police agencies across Lorain County scrambling to stem the flow of the drug onto the streets.
“The poison sold by this defendant directly led to the death of a woman,” U.S. Attorney for Northern Ohio Steven Dettelbach said in a news release. “Heroin and fentanyl use leads to death, destroys lives and damages families. We will continue doing all we can to turn the tide on this epidemic.”
Noble’s attorney, Michael Stepanik, he said didn’t learn about the federal charges against his client until Wednesday. He said his client already has pleaded guilty to selling drugs in state court and is awaiting sentencing.
“This would seem to change things,” he said.
Stepanik said that while defendants can be charged in both state and federal court for the same alleged criminal conduct, it’s not something that happens often.
“I don’t know if it’s different evidence or it’s the same as what was presented in state court,” he said.
Police have said when Noble was arrested in November, he was caught with 75 grams of suspected drugs, but testing determined that only 23 grams of that was fentanyl or a mixture of fentanyl.
The remaining material, police believe, was likely a cutting agent used to bulk up the quantity of fentanyl Noble could sell.
Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will said Dettelbach’s office and the FBI came to him about taking the case against Noble to federal court. He said it’s part of a push to become more aggressive in dealing with the heroin epidemic.
Elyria Police Chief Duane Whitely said in the news release that law enforcement at all levels is working to fight illegal drugs.
“Sadly, in this case, the sale of drugs led to someone’s death,” Whitely said. “The weapon used may not have been a gun, but it is just as deadly.”