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Newark man gets 5 years for selling fentanyl-laced heroin

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A convicted drug dealer from Newark was sentenced last week to five and a half years in federal prison for selling deadly fentanyl-laced heroin.

Theophil Hollis, 30, sold the drugs in baggies branded with the stamp “Block Party” during the fall of 2016. A 27-year-old Newark man bought one of those baggies, took the drugs and suffered a fatal overdose.

“This case highlights the dangers inherent in the drug trade and the devastating consequences heroin and fentanyl have on our community,” U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss said in a prepared statement. “We will continue to vigorously prosecute drug dealers whose actions result in death. While the sentence in this case will never return the life that was lost, it should serve notice that drug dealers will be held accountable for the harm they inflict. We commend our law enforcement partners for their hard work and dedication in making our streets safer.”

Hollis was arrested in February 2017 and charged with drug dealing resulting in death and two counts of possession with intent to deliver heroin. Facing 20 years in prison and up to a $1 million fine if convicted at trial, he instead took a deal and pleaded guilty to the two counts of possession with intent to deliver.

In a handwritten letter to Chief Judge Leonard Stark, Hollis apologized for his crimes and asked for a second chance, explaining that he had long struggled with addiction and after hitting “rock bottom,” his 2017 arrest sparked a much-needed change in his life.

He told the judge that “addiction has run its course through my family” and he’s watched relatives die from drugs and alcohol.

“Yet my addiction was so strong, and I was so focused everyday on just getting my next fix, scared to go through the withdrawal of running out of opiates, I was blinded by this and it caused me to think irrationally and clearly make bad decisions that have led to damaging consequences,” Hollis wrote, adding that he has been working as a welder in prison and hopes to become a certified welding inspector upon his release.

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