BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announces that a federal grand jury has returned a one-count indictment charging John Haak, 34, of Evans, NY, with distribution of fentanyl causing death. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a fine of up $1,000,000.
"This case represents another in our ongoing effort to bring the full force of federal law against those drug traffickers who are willingly selling illegal and often deadly commodities," said U.S. Attorney Hochul.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank T. Pimentel, who is handling the case, stated that on February 28, 2015, a Hamburg man died of a fentanyl overdose at his home. During the ensuing investigation, officers discovered a cellular telephone that belonged to the decedent. Text messages exchanged between the decedent and the defendant, in conjunction with an autopsy performed by the Erie County Medical Examiner, revealed that the decedent received fentanyl from Haak shortly before his body was discovered. The defendant also sent text messages warning the decedent to be careful with the substance that he sold to him.
Haak is in custody and will be arraigned at a later date before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy.
The indictment is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division, the Hamburg Police Department, under the direction of Chief Gregory Wickett, and the Evans Police Department, under the direction of Chief Ernest P. Masullo.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.