Pike County, Kentucky Man Sentenced to Life for Distributing Fentanyl that Resulted in Overdose Death

PIKEVILLE, KY— A Shelbiana, Ky., man, Justin Bryant, 38, was sentenced to life in federal prison on Tuesday, by U.S. District Judge Robert Wier, for distributing fentanyl and para-flurofentanyl that caused death of a victim, and for conspiring with others to distribute heroin, fentanyl, and para-fluorofentanyl.

Bryant was convicted by a federal jury in October 2022.  According to evidence at trial, on October 12, 2021, Bryant smuggled drugs into the Pike County Detention Center and distributed them.  The drugs contained fentanyl and para-fluorofentanyl, and their use resulted in the death of another individual in the jail.

At sentencing, Judge Wier made a finding that there was reliable evidence connecting Bryant to another overdose death in August of 2021.  The evidence also documented that, even after the overdose death of the victim on October 12, 2021, staff with the Pike County Detention Center and Pikeville Police Department prevented Bryant from bringing drugs into the jail on two additional occasions.  The conviction in this case is the most recent of 30 prior criminal convictions, which Bryant has received over the past 20 years.    

Carlton S. Shier IV, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; J. Todd Scott, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Louisville Field Division; and Mike Riddle, Chief of the Pikeville Police Department jointly announced the sentence.

The investigation was conducted by the DEA and the Pikeville Police Department.  The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew H. Trimble.

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