ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona drug dealer sentenced to 6 years for selling fentanyl that caused Valley teen’s fatal overdose

Nov 22, 2023, 10:04 AM

Photo of fentanyl pills seized by Arizona troopers in November 2023. In an unrelated case, Michael ...

Photo of fentanyl pills seized by Arizona troopers in November 2023. In an unrelated case, Michael Fox of Tucson was sentenced to six years in prison on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, for supplying the fentanyl pills that caused a Valley teenager's fatal overdose in 2019. (Arizona Department of Public Safety Photo)

(Arizona Department of Public Safety Photo)

PHOENIX — An Arizona man was sentenced this week to six years in prison for supplying the fentanyl pills that caused a Valley teenager’s fatal overdose, authorities said.

Michael Fox, 29, of Tucson sold three pills to a 16-year-old girl from Glendale on June 29, 2019, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona.

The girl was found unresponsive about an hour later and rushed to the hospital. She never recovered and was pronounced dead on July 1, 2019.

The Maricopa County Medical Examiner found the cause of death to be cardiac arrest related to a fentanyl overdose, according to prosecutors.

Fox was indicted Sept. 28, 2021, and pleaded guilty to distribution of fentanyl on April 6 of this year.

What was unique about Arizona fentanyl dealer’s sentencing?

After a two-day evidentiary hearing Oct. 10 and Nov. 14, the district court ruled that the fentanyl sold by Fox caused the teen’s death, leading to enhanced sentencing standards.

United States Attorney Gary Restaino said it wasn’t the first time a fentanyl dealer was found responsible for an overdose death, but the sentencing process was something new.

“It’s the first time we’ve had a lengthy evidentiary hearing with scientific testimony on fentanyl as part of the sentencing,” Restaino said in a press release.

Fox was sentenced Monday to 72 months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release.

“We appreciate our partnership with the DEA in helping provide a strong message of deterrence, and we particularly thank the victim’s family for their support of the prosecution and their patience waiting for its outcome,” Restaino said.

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Arizona drug dealer sentenced to 6 years for selling fentanyl that caused Valley teen’s fatal overdose