A Lexington man accused of mistakenly selling fentanyl instead of cocaine to another man, causing his death, has been sentenced to 40 years in federal prison.
Keon Lamont Lee, 32, “regularly sold cocaine to the victim,” identified in court documents as FE, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release.
The press release says Lee got a bag of cocaine and a bag of fentanyl from the person who sold him drugs.
“Intent to distribute cocaine, Lee instead distributed fentanyl to the victim, who consumed the drug, overdosed and died,” the statement read. “Text messages from the victim’s and Lee’s phones confirmed these events, and Lee provided a full confession to law enforcement.”
Lexington police officers found FE dead at his home in February 2021, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
In January, during his jury trial, Lee pleaded guilty to distributing a mixture or substance containing fentanyl that resulted in death by overdose, which was one of six counts on which he was charged. was charged, according to court records. The remaining five counts were dismissed.
Court records indicate that Lee later asked to withdraw his guilty plea, saying he did not understand at the time that he would not be able to appeal. U.S. District Chief Judge Danny Reeves denied that request and sentenced him to 480 months in prison on Friday.
Lee will have to serve at least 85% of his sentence and he will be on probation for four years after his release.
“This case illustrates why drug trafficking remains such a threat to our community,” U.S. Attorney Carlton S. Shier IV said in the statement. “It shows how dangerous fentanyl is – potentially deadly in the 2mg range – and highlights the common truth that drug users have no idea what they are buying.
“Whether by mistake, dangerous mixtures with other drugs or counterfeit pills, users often seek out one drug but receive another, with serious results.”
He said the case also shows “that those who illegally traffic these dangerous drugs face real prosecution and consequences for their conduct.”