GADSDEN – Three Gadsden men were arrested today on federal charges of distributing heroin or fentanyl, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Robert O. Posey and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp.
A federal grand jury in July returned separate indictments charging each man with multiple counts of distributing the opioid drugs. A four-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges MICHAEL ANTONIO FIKES, 29, with three counts of unlawfully distributing fentanyl and one count of unlawfully distributing heroin in January 2017. The indictment against DEQUAVIOUS MARKELL JONES, 26, charges him with three counts of unlawfully distributing heroin in March and April 2016. The indictment against DEVON SHONDALE RUSSELL, 29, charges him with three counts of unlawfully distributing heroin in September 2016.
“Heroin and opioid use in the Northern District of Alabama has reached epidemic proportions and the results from abusing these drugs are devastating and often deadly,” Posey said. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners are committed to prosecuting those who put these highly addictive substances on our streets and into the hands of addicts and abusers,” he said.
“The availability of heroin and other deadly drugs are a threat to our communities and today’s arrests are only the beginning,” Sharp said. “I want the citizens of north Alabama to know that the FBI and our partners on the North Alabama Safe Streets Task Force will continue to bring those who poison our communities with illegal drugs to the bar of justice.”
“The opioid crisis is an epidemic that is daily taking lives in Etowah County,” said Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin. “We are committed to the aggressive enforcement of state laws in an effort to keep dangerous drugs off the street. I appreciate the cooperation between multiple agencies to find those responsible for heroin distribution, which is so quickly endangering our communities.”
The maximum penalty for the distribution of a mixture and substance containing detectable amounts of heroin and fentanyl is 10 years in prison and $1 million fine for each count.
The FBI and North Alabama Safe Streets Task Force investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura D. Hodge is prosecuting.
An indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.