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Sioux Falls man convicted of fentanyl distribution after buyers died in 2018, 2019

The DEA says many users believe that they are purchasing heroin and actually don’t know that they are purchasing fentanyl, often resulting in overdose deaths.

U.S. District Court Sioux Falls.jpg
The District of South Dakota's Southern Division handles cases out of the United States Court House in Sioux Falls.
Mitchell Republic file photo
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SIOUX FALLS — A Sioux Falls man is facing life in federal prison after he was found guilty of distributing fentanyl that caused the death of two people while also conspiring to distribute heroin.

Jeffrey Moore, 53, of Sioux Falls, was convicted Friday, May 13, of two counts of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death and one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considers to be 80-100 times stronger than morphine. Originally developed for use via skin patches to treat severe pain in cancer patients, its properties have led it to become common for use in heroin distribution.

The DEA says fentanyl is added to heroin to increase its potency or to be disguised as highly potent heroin. Many users believe that they are purchasing heroin and actually don’t know that they are purchasing fentanyl, often resulting in overdose deaths.

It doesn't take much fentanyl to overdose either. According to the DEA's Facts about Fentanyl webpage, a dose as small as two milligrams can be fatal depending on a person’s body size, tolerance and past usage.

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The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says a two milligram dose of fentanyl — the amount pictured on the end of this pencil — can be lethal, depending on a person’s body size, tolerance and past usage.
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Moore was convicted with evidence that fentanyl he distributed in South Dakota on Nov. 2, 2018, and June 15, 2019, led to the death of two victims. An information release from the U.S. Office of the District Attorney did not identify the victims.

Between an unknown date until July 20, 2020, Moore had also knowingly conspired with other individuals to distribute heroin. His co-conspirators were also unnamed.

Under federal sentencing statutes, Moore will spend a mandatory minimum of 40 years in federal prison for the deaths of two victims. Each count, however, carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and fines of up to $1 million. For conspiring to distribute heroin, Moore could be sentenced to another 20 years in federal prison plus an additional $1 million fine.

Moore was also federally charged with conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, but was found not guilty at trial.

The investigation was conducted by the DEA as well as the Sioux Falls Area Drug Task Force — a joint group composed of the Sioux Falls Police Department, Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office and the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation.

After a pre-sentence investigation is completed, Moore will appear in U.S. District Court for a sentencing hearing Aug. 1.

The defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service while awaiting his sentencing.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTSDRUGS
A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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