Ohio Man Pleaded Guilty to Selling Fentanyl From China that Resulted in a Fatal Overdose


In 2015, a 36-year-old from Akron, Ohio, sold fentanyl that resulted in the death of an unidentified Akron fentanyl-user. Leroy Shuarod Steele, one of the three defendants named in the indictment, admitted that he sold the fentanyl. Steele’s guilty plea, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio, is “likely” to bring a 20-year prison sentence. A 2-count Federal indictment, in 2015, charged Steele with intent to distribute fentanyl and distribution that ended in a fatal overdose.

The indictment only identified the now-deceased customer with two-initials: T.R. It mentioned, additionally, that the buyer lived in Akron along with Steele. Ohio served as the face and partial launchpad for U.S. Senator Rob Portman’s legislation aimed at ending opioid trafficking in the United States. The bill, called the Synthetics Trafficking Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, specifically focused on opioid trafficking via the postal system and pinpointed China as the main supplier of illegal opioids and opiates.

“It [carfentanil and fentanyl] comes from our postal system and their postal system into the United States. Unbelievable — the poison is coming in the mail to our communities,” Sen. Portman said at a recent senate floor speech.

The indictment named two co-conspirators, both Akron residents as well. Sabrina M. Robinson and Ryan Sumlin, 34-years-old and 26-years-old, respectively. All three conspired to possess and distribute fentanyl between March and April 2015. According to court documents, they purchased the fentanyl from a supplier in China and subsequently distributed it throughout Akron and Fairlawn. “A human life was snuffed out because of the poison this defendant brought to Akron,” Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio said. “This tragedy underscores the danger of using heroin or fentanyl. Making the mistake of using this drug even once might be the last mistake a person ever makes.”

Leroy Shuarod Steele and Ryan Sumlin both faced the additional overdose related charge. Sabrina Robinson pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute soon after the arrest occurred. Authorities scheduled both Steele and Robinson’s sentencing hearings for April 19, 2017. Sumlin’s case is still pending, court documents revealed. “This is another human life lost to opioids brought to Ohio from China,” U.S. Attorney Carole S. Rendon announced. “We will continue to push for long prison sentences for drug dealers who kill our neighbors and relatives, while also working to reduce the number of opioids on the street, making treatment more readily available and educating our community about the dangers posed by these drugs. (US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio.)”

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