Crime Watch 8

Alleged drug dealer first charged in Marion County under new law in fatal overdose

Alleged drug dealer first charged in Marion County under new law in fatal overdose

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A man accused of selling the powerful opioid that led to a deadly overdose in July is now being held in the Marion County Jail.

The felony charge marks the first time the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office has used a new state law to hold drug dealers responsible for deaths caused by what they sell on the street.

Dewayne Mahone was arrested in July after selling drugs to Tony Harrell. Police say those drugs were laced with fentanyl.

Alleged drug dealer first charged in Marion County under new law in fatal overdose

On Wednesday Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears filed a felony charge after an autopsy showed Harrell died from causes related to the drugs. Mahone could now be facing up to 50 years in prison after a felony charge was filed against him for Dealing a Controlled Substance Resulting in Death.

“Before we were just limited to filing a dealing charge,” said Mears.

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Mahone already faces the following six charges related to possession and dealing drugs:

  • Dealing in a narcotic drug (Level 2 felony)
  • Possession of a narcotic drug (Level 3 felony)
  • Possession of a narcotic drug (Level 5 felony)
  • Unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon (Level 4 felony)
  • Unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon (Level 4 felony)
  • Possession of marijuana (Class B Misdemeanor)

Investigators were led to Mahone after an acquaintance of Harrell’s identified him as a suspect in the case.

A search warrant was obtained and investigators discovered 25 grams of fentanyl, 4.04 grams of heroin and .34 grams of a mixture of fentanyl and heroin at Mahone’s home.

“When they (investigators) did that search warrant at the individual’s home, they found more fentanyl and so they very likely saved other people’s lives,” said Mears.

A woman participating in a rally on Wednesday outside the State House hopes that the new law will help get dangerous drug dealers off the street and give people like her, who have medical conditions that cause chronic pain, some relief when it comes to getting prescribed the medication they need.

“I have to deal with judgment from the pharmacy tech, to the pharmacist, to people that think that I am a drug addict just because I have an intractable pain condition,” she said.

Before the new law, charges for dealing drugs resulting in a person’s death would max out at 16 years. Now, there is the potential for dealers to get what is essentially a life sentence when coupled with other charges related to dealing drugs.

“Fentanyl is a deadly, dangerous drug that is going to result in the death of people and you have individuals that are preying on people’s addiction, they are exploiting that addiction, and those individuals need to be held accountable, especially when the consequences are death,” said Mears.

Ending prosecution of small marijuana possession cases was something Mears says allows them to put more time and focus on people like Mahone.

“There is a significant difference in a little bit of marijuana and a little bit of fentanyl. A little bit of marijuana is not something that is going to result in addiction or death, a little bit of fentanyl can kill somebody,” said Mears.

Since 2018 when the new law was put in place, 14 other people have been charged with dealing drugs resulting in death across the state.

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